LONDON — UKIP has once again found itself in a state of open warfare after its former leader Nigel Farage called on the party’s sole MP to be booted out of the party.
Farage, who stood down as leader last year but remains a UKIP MEP, has accused Douglas Carswell MP of sabotaging his chances of being awarded a knighthood for his services to the Leave campaign.
Writing for The Telegraph on Monday, Farage said that former Conservative MP Carswell was “consumed with jealousy” and a “desire to hurt” him after leaked emails showed Carswell mocking Farage’s hopes of becoming a Lord.
Former UKIP leader Lord Pearson of Rannoch reportedly asked Carswell to speak to the chief whip Gavin Williams overriding the Cabinet Office honours committee’s decision to reject an application for Farage to be knighted in 2017.
In a leaked email response to Lord Pearson, Carswell said: “As promised, I did speak to the government Chief Whip.
“Perhaps we might try angling to get Nigel an OBE next time round? For services to headline writers? An MBE, maybe?”
Carswell denies deliberately blocking his former leader from being knighted. However, Farage has called on his successor Paul Nuttall to kick him out of the party, saying there is “little future” for UKIP while Carswell remains.
“As a party, how can we let a man represent us in the House of Commons who actively and transparently seeks to damage us?” Farage wrote for The Telegraph.
“I think there is little future for Ukip with him staying inside this party. The time for him to go is now.”
UKIP on the brink of disaster
This drama is just the latest episode in a long-standing conflict between Farage and Carswell.
The pair have been at loggerheads ever since Clacton MP Carswell defected to the party from the Tories in 2014. Farage on a number of occasions has accused Carswell of trying to split the party and undermine his own leadership.
Arron Banks, UKIP’s main donor and co-founder of Leave.EU, issued a new ultimatum to leader Nuttall on Monday, telling the current leader that he will cease to fund UKIP unless drastic changes are made to how the party operates.
These changes include installing Banks himself as party chairman, a total rebrand of the party’s image, and greater utilisation of Farage as the party’s biggest asset. He also reinstated the need for Carswell to be kicked out of the party.
UKIP’s latest battle with itself comes just days after Nuttall slumped to a disappointing second-place finish in the Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election. The Merseysider finished more than 2,500 votes behind Gareth Snell, despite describing Stoke as “Brexit capital” of Britain and vowing to replace Labour in one of its traditional heartland seats.
The party also under-performed in Copeland, where it was beaten to third place by the Liberal Democrats. Farage told the party’s spring conference UKIP’s performance in those by-elections — particularly Copeland — would be “fundamental” to the party’s future.
Nuttall is now not just under pressure to turn UKIP into a more viable force in Westminster politics but to prevent the party from collapsing altogether. He told Business Insider last month that he had managed to unite the party after months of vicious in-fighting. “Myself and my deputy Peter Whittle have created a completely new atmosphere and a new attitude,” he said in an interview with us. The honeymoon has come to a screeching halt.
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