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Discussion > I'm not surprised by Carswell's admission

DOUGLAS Carswell joined Ukip to force David Cameron to run a referendum campaign – and to make sure the eurosceptic party did not run the Leave campaign.
...
Mr Carswell defected to Ukip from Cameron’s Conservatives in 2014, sending political shockwaves through the nation’s leading party.

But after leaving the party to stand as an independent, Mr Carswell has claimed he was working against Ukip the whole time.
DailyExpress: Douglas Carswell admits he joined UKIP ‘so that Nigel Farage’s party would NOT run Brexit’

I'm not surprised by Carswell's admission, but I can't quite believe it! It puts so much in a different light.

Mar 29, 2017 at 12:20 AM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

I can't see Carswell's logic in not fighting a bye-election. He claims that when he left the Tories to join UKIP he was honour-bound to stand again, whereas now he's leaving UKIP to be an independent, he doesn't need to stand again because he isn't representing another party. For me, the logic is that he was firstly voted in by people who thought they were electing a Tory MP, last time he was voted in by people who thought they were electing a UKIP MP. I think his "logic" is utterly flawed. If he thinks voter's were voting for Carswell, not UKIP, and if the Carswell brand is strong enough, he should put that to the test. Not that it matters much, but it's the principle of the thing.

Mar 29, 2017 at 8:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

It's strange, Carswell is being held to a higher standard than other MPs who in the past have jumped from one party to another. Most did not bother to consult their constituents. Carswell at least did fight a by-election when he shifted to UKIP. So long as he represents his constituents and they don't object, then who cares?

Mar 29, 2017 at 9:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterSupertroll

Supertroll

I'm not holding him to a higher standard. I believe all defecting MPs should stand again in a bye-election. I accept that our constitutional theory says we elect the MP not the party, but that is not the reality. Where I was brought up the saying was that the Labour Party candidate could be a pig or a beer glass and it would still be elected. The same, conversely, is true of the Tory candidate in many true-blue constituencies.

I believe that if a candidate is elected using the resources and banner of a political party which they then leave, then they should put themselves up for re-election. It's just common decency. As long ago as when the SDP was founded and Labour MPs defected but refused to fight bye-elections, I was unhappy about such behaviour.

"So long as he represents his constituents and they don't object, then who cares?" Who says they don't object? How do you know?

As I said, in the greater scheme of things it doesn't matter much, but I think it reflects badly on his sense of decency and integrity.

Mar 29, 2017 at 9:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

Carswell's bye-election was unusual, and refusals to submit yourself to the vote of your electorate was a feature of all parties, not just of Labour. I do believe even Winston Churchill failed to call a bye-election when he jumped parties early in his political career.
I agree that everyone changing parties, ought to call to be re-elected, but this was not traditionally done.
Suppose Carswell had been pushed out of UKIP, would you feel he would need to seek re-election? If not, then what's the difference between jumping himself or being pushed?

Mar 29, 2017 at 11:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterSupertroll

As Carswell has said, we have Brexit, so all is well, but only up to a point. I thought that the UKIP/Carswell break this week had resulted with everyone losing a bit, but not losing much, and being freed to go onto pastures new. He's rarely followed the party line in spirit, but as he's going to continue voting for Brexit, I don't see his constituents being too annoyed as that will fill most of this Parliament. However, this revelation that he has had hidden agenda, and one that he is deliriously happy about to be known publicly, puzzles me as it is one that I can't see how it will help him in the future: it's very strange.

Mar 29, 2017 at 12:20 AM by Robert Christopher
"It puts so much in a different light."
I was thinking more of how Carswell's hidden agenda has hindered UKIP and perhaps even more, Farage. To have a non-team member in your team, especially when that person has a USP (being the only MP in the party, and some willing 'friends'), is at least irritating and usually disruptive, as we have seen. So it wasn't all in Farage's mind: it was real!

And then, without the irregularities at South Thanet and the other constituencies in the last General Election, it could have all been so different. (There is an opportunity here to disappear into fantasy!). And then again, possibly not. Like being a party leader, being an MP takes a lot of effort, even before hitting the campaign trail, and building up MP numbers, even to just be the official opposition by 2020, would be a daunting challenge so, yes, all is well for now, but reflecting on the MSM, they didn't do their job very professionally - which may have hindered UKIP, but it helped Brexit along! But UKIPers are like that: the country is more important than the party.

Mar 29, 2017 at 12:43 PM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

So this is where you hang out, Mark.

I think you'll find it is a by-election, though in this instance, bye-election is more apt.

Mar 29, 2017 at 2:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterWilliam

I find Carswell perplexing too.

It is incredible how Farage, and UKIP, have changed UK Politics, the map of the EU, and probably the future of the EU. Labour and the Conservatives both took a beating, Labour have not yet finished beating each other up.

UKIP are now unsure about what to do next, or where to go next, but all sides of the political establishment are terrified of them.

UKIP can be proud of being the greatest Political "One Hit Wonder" in living history. I am very grateful for what they have achieved, with the support they had. If the UK had Proportional Representation, Farage might have been the "Clegg style" Deputy Prime Minister. 2016 turned out some good Political results, which is worth remembering for those who support PR.

Mar 29, 2017 at 2:41 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Supertroll

You raise an interesting point, and it's not an easy one to answer. On balance (but only on balance) I think an MP expelled from his party should probably have to face a by-election (yes, William, you're correct about the spelling, I realised too late I had mis-spelled it), but it is a harder question. If the MP hasn't actively chosen to depart from the party under whose banner he/she was elected, a by-election in those circumstances may be harsh, but is probably the fairest outcome for the electorate.

My interest in the question is purely academic - I am not a support of UKIP or of any political party.

Mar 29, 2017 at 4:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

Mark. If you believe an expelled MP should have to face a by-election, this means that political apparatchiks should be able to overturn the will of the electorate, which cannot be right.
In this specific case, it is further complicated by Carswell's admission that he deliberately mislead UKIP (and thereby the electorate) about his true affiliations. For this reason I feel (also on balance) that he should resign and stand again.
I also have no connection with UKIP and am interested in this purely as an intellectual exercise.
I also wonder if the right wing of the Tory Party knew what Carswell was doing when he left the Tory Party and secretly approved (surely not?)

Mar 29, 2017 at 4:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterSupertroll

Supertroll & Mark Hodgson, the ability of MPs to be deselected may be tested by Labour this year, now that Len McCluskey has decided on behalf of Unite to give Corbyn another 18 months.

Carswell may also have abused the Democratic process, but not on quite such a large scale.

Mar 29, 2017 at 5:41 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Mar 29, 2017 at 4:51 PM by Supertroll

"I also wonder if the right wing of the Tory Party knew ..."
I think you raise a good point but I would prefer to find out who the collaborators were before I labeled them. And trying to label them relative to the Tory Party would be difficult when part of the reason for UKIP 's creation was the lack of agreement within the Tory party about policies that transcended the old left/right divide.

There are several possibles in the frame but, ironically, I don't think Mark Reckless would be that reckless. :)

Carswell has said his statement, which he put out, has had a reasonably good reception and, having been voted in as a Tory and as a Kipper, I would have thought that the status quo was not that wrong: he hasn't done anything criminal (that I know :) ) and he won't be voting much differently, as I posted earlier. Sometimes an error needs correcting, sometimes it needs to be left on show, and sometimes we need to wait until more information is gathered before making a judgement. Representative Democracy, which is what we have, has this conundrum and has been part of our Politics for a long time and is why we have General Elections at regular intervals. In the past, if a similar issue occurred and it grew and grew, it would become part of the National Debate and a General Election would be called, but with the current new arrangements, this is less likely to happen - another negative created by the BBC (that is, Blair, Brown and Cameron :) )

I am not even sure whether what he has said was a plan that he has followed or one that he has created to explain what he did. It wasn't with the flow, but then, an agent for change doesn't do that.

What is interesting is what happens at the next election: how will he be treated by the other players; will he stand again in Clacton, or elsewhere; will he rejoin the Tories?

Mar 29, 2017 at 6:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobert Christopher

Mar 29, 2017 at 5:41 PM by golf charlie
"Carswell may also have abused the Democratic process, but not on quite such a large scale."

I don't know that his constituents are that annoyed, as I explained earlier.

However, his actions have contributed to UKIP's loss of Short Money (due, because he won the bye-election) and added to UKIP's bad press. I am sure the MSM would have found something else, but being able to regularly accuse Farage of being in the middle of party unrest must have seemed like a week of Christmases to the interviewers from at least 'one particular national TV organisation'. It would have also tied up UKIP's resources which, for a small party, can be very draining and very frustrating for Farage because he knew he was right, on that point at least!

However, Carswell's bye-election success did help Brexit and all that it has entailed, including a forced change of PM so, as he said, 'so all is well', and I expect the rest of UKIP are looking towards the future. It's what Politics is about.

Mar 29, 2017 at 7:09 PM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

Supertroll:

"If you believe an expelled MP should have to face a by-election, this means that political apparatchiks should be able to overturn the will of the electorate, which cannot be right. "

Again, a very interesting point, which touches on the difference between constitutional theory and reality, which I think could usefully be more seriously discussed by our politicians.

The big question is, what IS the will of the electorate? Did they vote for Carswell because he was Carswell, or because he was first a Tory, and then a Ukipper? Extrapolating that question further, should a political caucus be able to expel an MP from the party at all between general elections? Presumably yes, in terms of the internal party constitution, but where does that leave the MP and the electorate? It's a fine judgement call. In some exceptional cases - of exceptional individuals as candidates - the electorate might have voted for the individual, but more generally I suspect they are voting for the party, and the identity of the party's candidate is irrelevant to most electors.

I fear I'm rambling, but that's because it's not an easy issue. As with much in modern politics I think we need a serious debate about how our constitution works, and how it should work. However, those issues won't see the light of day, I suspect, while we sort out leaving the EU (a rather bigger constitutional issue).

Mar 29, 2017 at 9:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

Perhaps what is required is the Power of Recall, although I am not convinced this could be introduced without preventing its misuse.

Mar 30, 2017 at 6:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterSupertroll

Supertroll
I think you'll find Churchill changed parties twice, setting the precedent for Carswell. possibly one of the reasons for the wilderness years even fellow politicians found him untrustworthy. They are a slippery lot politicians,

Mar 30, 2017 at 8:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

SandyS. "A precedent"? Could you be suggesting that Carswell will be with us for decades and will come good at the end?

Yes I was aware of Churchill's political record. He represented part of Essex close to where I grew up.

Mar 30, 2017 at 8:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterSupertroll

Supertroll
Who knows, stranger things have happened? Churchill was a bit of a nomad in terms of Parliamentary seats.

Mar 30, 2017 at 11:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS