Clacton MP Douglas Carswell quits Parliament and backs Conservatives
Douglas Carswell has announced he is standing down as Clacton MP – and offered his support to the Conservatives for the next election.
In a statement on his website, the independent said it was a case of “job done” in the wake of the vote to leave the European Union last June.
Mr Carswell was first elected as a Conservative in 2005 before defecting to Ukip in 2014 and triggering and winning a by-election.
He went on to be the only Ukip candidate to win in the 2015 general election before quitting the party last month to become an independent.
He said: “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.
“I have decided that I will not now be seeking re-election. I intend to vote Conservative on June 8th and will be offering my full support to whoever the Clacton Constituency Conservatives select as their candidate.
“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.
“Having been an MP for about half my adult life, I believe that it is time for me to move on to other things. I look forward to being able to read newspapers without appearing in them.
“It has been the highest honour to have represented Clacton in the House of Commons.”
His time in Ukip has been marked by a series of rows with high-profile figures in the party, most notably former leader Nigel Farage.
One of his critics in Ukip, millionaire businessman Arron Banks, declared yesterday that he would challenge Mr Carswell in Clacton.