Douglas Carswell has not ruled out a push for new leadership of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) after the European Union (EU) referendum while issuing a veiled warning to Nigel Farage over sharing a platform with George Galloway again.
In an interview with The Times, Mr Carswell was asked whether he stood by his comments in December that UKIP needed a “fresh face” as leader. The MP declined to directly answer the question, instead replying: “We’ve got to win the referendum. No one is suggesting that we have a leadership contest between now and then.”
He has said in the past, however, that he would not wish to stand as UKIP leader himself.
Despite comments likely to be viewed as slights against Mr Farage, Mr Carswell insisted: “I don’t want to say any unkind things about any Ukippers, or indeed any other people on the Leave side, particularly not in the next 100 days.” He dismissed speculation that he might rejoin the Tories, even if a Eurosceptic became the party’s next leader. Asked whether he might resign the UKIP whip and become an independent in future, he said: “Absolutely not.”
Mr Carswell is backing the establishment ‘Vote Leave’ campaign whereas Mr Farage, who appeared alongside the Respect politician George Galloway last month, is lending his support to the Grassroots Out campaign.
Mr Carswell acknowledged there were “differences” between him and Mr Farage about which Brexit campaign they supported. In another dig at his party leader he told the newspaper that it would be extraordinary if UKIP cut itself off from Vote Leave. Mr Farage has been urging party figures to side with Grassroots Out and avoid Vote Leave, its rival camp.
Reflecting on Mr Farage’s recent criticism of him, Mr Carswell said: “Nigel did describe me as irrelevant . . . I’ve been called worse things than irrelevant. I won four of five elections, and in a democracy it’s the people that decide which candidates are and which candidates are not irrelevant.”
As Breitbart London has reported, this is not the first time Mr Carswell has moved so publicly to air his grievances with Mr Farage.
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