Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
  2. The Staggers
20 April 2017updated 01 Aug 2021 7:38am

Ukip’s first elected MP Douglas Carswell won’t run again – and will vote Tory

“Job done. I’m delighted.”

By Anoosh Chakelian

Douglas Carswell, one of the New Statesman‘s favourite honourable members, will stand down at the next election. Now an independent after leaving Ukip in March, Carswell was Ukip’s first elected MP – after defecting from the Tories in 2014, triggering a by-election in his Clacton seat. He says he will now vote Conservative on 8 June.

His reason?

“I have done everything possible to ensure we got, and won, a referendum to leave the European Union – even changing parties and triggering a by election to help nudge things along. Last summer, we won that referendum. Britain is going to become a sovereign country again . . . 

“It is sometimes said that all political careers end in failure. It doesn’t feel like that to me today. I have stood for Parliament five times, won four times, and helped win the referendum last June. Job done. I’m delighted.”

The real reason?

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. A handy, three-minute glance at the week ahead in companies, markets, regulation and investment, landing in your inbox every Monday morning. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.

Carswell would most likely lose his seat to the Tories this time round. He knows his success in the constituency so far has resulted more from whichever party he’s deigned to belong to than his own popularity. There is even speculation that he tried and failed to rejoin his old party to run again as a Tory. And he is tangled up in a messy internal Ukip feud with the party’s former donor Arron Banks – who pledged to run against the MP who he labelled “a poor return for four million votes” in Clacton.

As for the dream of Brexit Britain? Perhaps he’d rather be in a job where he can dodge the blame when it turns out not to be a utopia.

Content from our partners
How do we secure the hybrid office?
How materials innovation can help achieve net zero and level-up the UK
Fantastic mental well-being strategies and where to find them