Douglas Carswell: Nigel Farage should step down as Ukip leader

Posted On: 
18th December 2015

Douglas Carswell has suggested Nigel Farage should stand aside for a “fresh face” as Ukip leader. 

Carswell and Farage

Mr Carswell, Ukip’s only MP, said the party’s performance and reaction to the Oldham West by-election had left him convinced that Ukip needed a change in leadership.

“The Oldham by-election to me said very clearly that we need a fresh face,” he told BBC Essex.

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“Let me put it another way: I don’t want to wake up the morning after the European referendum and hear people saying ‘it was the postal votes’.”

Ukip finished second in the by-election, almost 11,000 votes behind Labour.

Mr Farage and other figures in Ukip had been talking up their chances in the seat beforehand, and he subsequently claimed the result was “bent” by postal votes.

Mr Carswell defected from the Conservatives last year and triggered a by-election in which he became Ukip’s first-ever elected MP.

He held that seat in May’s general election, but was the only MP returned for Ukip despite it winning some four million votes.

His relationship with Mr Farage has become strained, with Mr Carswell calling on the party to take a more socially liberal direction.

In his interview with Radio Essex, Mr Carswell said Ukip had the chance to “fundamentally transform the political system” despite its “phenomenal achievement” in growing under Mr Farage.

“If Ukip becomes that – that optimistic, sunshine, smiley, socially liberal, unapologetically free market party – we will break out from the 13%, we will break out from being the also-rans in Oldham to being the winner,” he said.