Why is the Express obsessed with Douglas Carswell?

PUBLISHED: 11:34 19 May 2020 | UPDATED: 11:48 19 May 2020

Former Ukip MP Douglas Carswell speaks to the media outside Portcullis House, London (Pic: Anthony Devlin/PA)

Former Ukip MP Douglas Carswell speaks to the media outside Portcullis House, London (Pic: Anthony Devlin/PA)

PA Archive/PA Images

The former Ukip MP hasn’t sat in Parliament for three years. So why does the Express report his every utterance?

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Douglas Carswell, who defected from the Conservatives to Ukip in 2014, lost his seat at the 2017 general election. Since then he has effectively left frontline politics, co-founding and then resigning as a director of a data analytics company, and quite possible pursuing his hobby - according to a BBC profile - of making suspiciously-foreign quince jelly.

Yet for the Express this long-forgotten backbencher remains their go-to man for comment on Brexit and coronavirus throughout the crisis. Here’s just a few examples since lockdown...

April 2: ‘Vote Leave insiders make shock claim about Dominic Cummings: ‘He didn’t run the campaign!’

Political reporter Martina Bet reports that former UKIP MP Douglas Carswell had made “an extraordinary claim about Boris Johnson’s special adviser Dominic Cummings, in an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk”. The claim? Cummings was not the only person involved in the Vote Leave campaign. “Matthew Elliott was a very mature, sensible, wise head as chief executive of Vote Leave,” says Carswell. “There was a really strong board.”

April 19: ‘Ex-MP Douglas Carswell pinpoints how Remainers are using coronavirus crisis to STOP Brexit’

Katie Harris breathlessly reports that Douglas Carswell had “hit out at Remainers for using the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to extend the EU transition period”. Carswell had said “Remainers [are] still trying to get us to remain,” she says.

May 4: ‘Brexit analysis: Vote Leave insider picks out huge EU weakness that’s UK’s biggest asset’

Martina Bet secures another “exclusive interview” with Douglas Carswell who claims that the EU’s inability “to understand how to understand legitimate British concerns” was actually the UK’s strongest hand in trade deal negotiations in an argument so blindingly clever only he and Bet understand it.

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May 7: ‘German politician praised for finally ‘waking up to moral failings’ at the heart of EU’

Emily Ferguson reports that Norbert Röttgen, a former German minister little known outside his own country, had been praised for saying “shared European values and interests” were needed in the EU’s dealings with China during the coronavirus pandemic. Who had done the praising? Why, it’s Douglas Carswell, who has approvingly interpreted the comments as “leading German politicians waking up to the fundamental moral failings at the heart of EU institutions”.

May 11: ‘EU outrage: Douglas Carswell launches brutal swipe against Michel Barnier’

In another “exclusive interview with express.co.uk”, Martina Bet says Douglas Carswell has “launched a brutal tirade against the eurocrat”. Describing him as “the prominent Brexiteer”, Bet quotes him as saying “Barnier hasn’t understood what Brexit means”. Barnier’s response to this attack from such an international heavyweight goes unreported.

May 12: ‘Douglas Carswell picks out Tony Blair as reason behind EU’s trade talk stubbornness’

Bet, whose contact book appears to be somewhat limited, secures another an “exclusive interview” with former Ukip MEP Douglas Carswell who argues “that eurocrats do not understand Brexit because they have been listening to Remainers like Mr Blair”. It is becoming increasingly clear that the interviews are exclusive because no other outlet is desperately trying to secure chats with Carswell.

May 16: ‘End the lockdown! Brexiteer calls on Boris to rethink strategy - ‘Not based on science!’’

Brian McGleenon reports that an MP has argued that “there is no cause to implement such strict measures when today the invisible killer disease will infect ‘only a handful of people’”. Who is this rebel MP? Why, it’s “independent member of parliament Douglas Carswell”, who has not actually been an MP since losing his seat at the 2017 general election - something McGleenon sadly lacks the space to note.

May 18: ‘EU laid bare: Why reform is badly needed but Brussels ‘always shies away’’

The EU’s response to the pandemic “has not just triggered an economic crisis but it is raising questions within its political and constitutional make-up” reports Kate Nicholson in an article based on a leader column published on the Economist’s website five days previously. Fortunately Nicholson has a second source: “Former Ukip MP Douglas Carswell also told Express.co.uk earlier this year that the EU’s refusal to make long-lasting change has seriously damaged nations’ trust in the bloc.” It’s not Nicholson’s only scoop of the day: she also reports that the Queen once refused to see Prince Charles when he had the flu, based on an “unearthed report” - an article in Vanity Fair magazine published way back in 2017.

Can this beautiful relationship continue? Keep your eyes peeled...

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