More than 2,000 people have signed a petition calling for UKIP MP Douglas Carswell to “resign from UKIP”, accusing him of “destroying the party by divide and rule” and “fighting against almost everything UKIP stands for”.
Mr. Carswell defected from the Tories last year, and along with other former Tories such as Suzanne Evans and Neil Hamilton, has long advocated the reorientation of the party towards a more “socially liberal” stance.
Earlier this morning UKIP’s National Executive Committee (NEC) declared UKIP MEP and leadership favourite Steven Woolfe “ineligible” to stand in the up-and-coming contest, claiming Mr. Woolfe failed to submit his leadership application on time.
However, UKIP donor Arron Banks and MEP Victoria Ayling have both claimed that Mr. Carswell, along with Mr. Hamilton, is implicated in or behind the “coup” against Mr. Woolfe and his leadership bid.
Mr. Woolfe is largely backed by former supporters of UKIP founder and leader and referendum winner Nigel Farage. After Mr. Farage resigned following the Brexit vote Mr. Carswell tweeted an image of a smiley face, and Mrs. Evans has previously attacked the former leader as “divisive”.
The petition addresses Mr. Carswell directly in the form of an open letter. It reads:
Douglas Carswell MP, Ever since your defection from the Conservative Party to UKIP, you have been fighting against almost everything UKIP stands for. During the 2015 General election, your so called “Key Seats team” of experts wrecked local UKIP campaigns; helping the Conservatives to make gains in key marginal constituencies.
It is my opinion that your heart is not truly UKIP and that you joined UKIP with a view to destroying the party by divide and rule; the aim being to remove the threat of UKIP from the Key Marginal seats where it splits the Tory vote.
Also I am concerned about attempted “establishmentisation”: The imposition by you and the likes of ‘suspended’ Suzanne Evans, of unreasonable, Blair style, political correctness; used to stifle anti-globalist comments, in a party that traditionally attracts support due to it’s [sic] straight talking.
Douglas Carswell, you are not UKIP, you do not wear a UKIP rosette. Your position as an MP does not make you indispensable and your subversiveness towards our hugely popular and respected party leader will not be tolerated by grass roots members and supporters.
We don’t want you! Resign, from UKIP, Now!