Conservative MP and former cabinet minister John Redwood. Photograph: Getty Images.
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John Redwood: I don't understand why Carswell has defected to Ukip

Leading Tory eurosceptic says Carswell's decision doesn't make sense after Cameron's EU referendum pledge. 

The most puzzling aspect of Douglas Carswell's defection to Ukip is that he had got what he most wanted: a promise of an in/out EU referendum from David Cameron. Indeed, the PM has gone further and vowed to resign if he is to unable to deliver on his pledge after the general election. At his press conference with Nigel Farage this morning, Carswell declared that the Tories were not seeking "real change" in Britain's relationship with the EU. But if true, this still leaves him and others free to campaign for a No vote when the referendum comes (something, as I noted yesterday, that only Tories have guaranteed). 

It's for this reason that many of Carswell's eurosceptic colleagues are bemused and angered by his decision. Bill Cash, the EU's most vociferous parliamentary critic, accused him of "self-defeating political vanity" and said he would help put Ed Miliband in No.10.

I've just been speaking to John Redwood, another famed eurosceptic, who told me that he didn't understand Carswell's decision. He saidL 

It's a curious decision by Douglas, it's too late really. I could just about have understood it if he had defected a couple of years ago, when he and I and others were pressing for the Conservative Party to say that the EU relationship didn't work, we were pressing for a renegotiation, and we were pressing for the promise of a referendum. I would have urged him then not to do it, I would have thought we could probably win in five. 

Now we've won it's very curious to leave, isn't it? I want to stay and see it through. My message to Douglas, if he'd told me beforehand, would have been 'look, we're very close to winning now, we've got the offers we want, and we've got to see it through and deliver.' If he is seriously worried that the Prime Minister won't negotiate a strong enough package, he needn't worry because the British people will then vote to get out; you've got the popular lock on the door that Douglas always wanted. 

Redwood added that he thought it was "extremely unlikely" that others would follow Carswell and defect.  "I couldn't name anybody who's going to do that, and I know most of them pretty well. There's nobody as independent as Douglas. I wouldn't have been able to predict Douglas's movements, because he always operated largely on his own." 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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Labour to strip "abusive" registered supporters of their vote in the leadership contest

The party is asking members to report intimidating behaviour - but is vague about what this entails. 

Labour already considered blocking social media users who describe others as "scab" and "scum" from applying to vote. Now it is asking members to report abuse directly - and the punishment is equally harsh. 

Registered and affiliated supporters will lose their vote if found to be engaging in abusive behaviour, while full members could be suspended. 

Labour general secretary Iain McNicol said: “The Labour Party should be the home of lively debate, of new ideas and of campaigns to change society.

“However, for a fair debate to take place, people must be able to air their views in an atmosphere of respect. They shouldn’t be shouted down, they shouldn’t be intimidated and they shouldn’t be abused, either in meetings or online.

“Put plainly, there is simply too much of it taking place and it needs to stop."

Anyone who comes across abusive behaviour is being encouraged to email validation@labour.org.uk.

Since the bulk of Labour MPs decided to oppose Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, supporters of both camps have traded insults on social media and at constituency Labour party gatherings, leading the party to suspend most meetings until after the election. 

In a more ominous sign of intimidation, a brick was thrown through the window of Corbyn challenger Angela Eagle's constituency office. 

McNicol said condemning such "appalling" behaviour was meaningless unless backed up by action: “I want to be clear, if you are a member and you engage in abusive behaviour towards other members it will be investigated and you could be suspended while that investigation is carried out. 

“If you are a registered supporter or affiliated supporter and you engage in abusive behaviour you will not get a vote in this leadership election."

What does abusive behaviour actually mean?

The question many irate social media users will be asking is, what do you mean by abusive? 

A leaked report from Labour's National Executive Committee condemned the word "traitor" as well as "scum" and "scab". A Labour spokeswoman directed The Staggers to the Labour website's leadership election page, but this merely stated that "any racist, abusive or foul language or behaviour at meetings, on social media or in any other context" will be dealt with. 

But with emotions running high, and trust already so low between rival supporters, such vague language is going to provide little confidence in the election process.