Cancelled: The skirmish on the sea front is off as Carswell quits
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
Sitting MP Douglas Carswell has announced he will not stand in the general election – dodging a dust up with Brexit bad boy Arron Banks.
The former Tory who defected to UKIP – before quitting that party as well – said he would be voting Conservative on June 8 but has decided that 'it is time for me to move on to other things'.
The move denies the public what would have been one of the most fascinating battles in recent electoral history as millionaire businessman and former UKIP funder Banks, who has accused Carswell of deliberately undermining the party and Nigel Farage, is standing.
The Clacton MP sensationally defected from the Tories to UKIP in 2014 and became the eurosceptic party's first elected member in a subsequent by-election.
But he fell out spectacularly with then leader Farage and quit the party earlier this year to sit as an independent.
You may also want to watch:
In a message to constituents, Mr Carswell 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.
- 1 The greatest failure of government in our lifetime
- 2 James O'Brien schools Brexiteer who refuses to accept new EU-UK trade rules
- 3 Matt Hancock praises free school meals before being reminded he voted against them
- 4 Scottish fishing boats ditch UK waters for Denmark to escape Brexit red tape
- 5 Jacob Rees-Mogg claims fish captured after Brexit deal came into effect were 'British and happier for it'
- 6 The polling that signals the plight of the Union
- 7 Tory candidate suspended by party over comments about ‘fat’ food bank user
- 8 The bigot we should have called out on day one
- 9 Katie Hopkins joins UKIP in time for leadership contest
- 10 Keir Starmer got it right with vote on Brexit deal
'I have decided that I will not now be seeking re-election.
'I intend to vote Conservative b*on June 8 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.'
Carswell, 45, was first elected Conservative MP for Harwich in 2005 and has represented Clacton in Parliament since 2010 following boundary changes.
He had a solid 12,000 majority as a Conservative in the 2010 election, holding the seat by almost 3,500 votes for Ukip in 2015.
Banks confirmed he would 'absolutely' still be standing for election in Clacton, telling BBC Radio Essex he believed Carswell had stood down because 'he was scared of losing'.
Become a Supporter
The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.