Ukip: Tory MP Douglas Carswell dramatically joins Nigel Farage's party
A Conservative MP has dramatically resigned and joined Nigel Farage’s Ukip.
Douglas Carswell, a prominent and respected Eurosceptic, will stand down as MP for Clacton in Essex and fight a by-election as the Ukip candidate.
Mr Carswell’s defection was kept a closely guarded secret until he held a surprise press conference at Westminster. He said his position in the Conservative Party was “untenable” and that, while he could “muddle through” as a Ukip MP until next May’s general election, he had decided to ask his constituents to join his crusade.
He said: “It's not enough that I leave the Conservative Party and join Ukip. I will now resign from parliament and stand for Ukip in the by-election that must follow.”
He added: “Things don't have to be this way. I will be asking voters in Essex to help me change them. The Conservative leadership are not serious about change. If I believed they were sincere about real change, I wouldn’t be here.”
Clacton is seen as one of the most favourable seats in the country for Ukip and the by-election will be a major headache for David Cameron.
Mr Farage said the decision was the “bravest, most honourable & noble thing I've seen in British politics”.
The move shows that Ukip has not lost momentum since topping the poll in the European elections in May.
Mr Carswell becomes Ukip’s second MP. Bob Spink, MP for Castle Point in Essex, defected to the party in 2008 but lost his seat at the 2010 election, when he stood as an independent who backed Ukip.
Belfast Telegraph Digital