Douglas Carswell caused a political earthquake after he defected from the Conservatives and joined Ukip. And today he won a by-election in his old seat of Clacton to became Ukip's first elected MP. But what do we really know about Mr Carswell and his views? Here are some interesting facts about the new Ukip MP that some of those who voted for him may not have known:
1. Mr Carswell’s voting record shows continued opposition to gay marriage and laws against discrimination based on sexual orientation.
He has voted against the Government stance supporting gay rights reforms five times, including several readings of the Same Sex Marriage Bill and laws making it available to armed forces personnel working overseas.
In 2007, he also voted against changes to the Equality Act, which put LGBT discrimination on the same legal footing as offences based on race, gender or disability for the first time.
Writing a letter in 2012 against gay marriage, Mr Carswell insisted he believed in “equal treatment for gay people” but opposed his own party’s proposals. “I think there is something a little bit arrogant about ministers supposing that it is for them to redefine communal rules that have existed for centuries,” he added.
2. He wants to scrap all MPs' expenses except those relating to running an office and travel from their constituency. But The Daily Telegraph revealed in 2009 that he claimed allowances to pay for furniture in his constituency home, including a £655 “Maximus” love seat in deep moss brushed cotton, with extra fabric protection from sofa.com.
3. Carswell would like to repeal the Firearms Act brought in to restrict gun ownership after the Dunblane tragedy. He claims in his book 'The Plan' that it has done nothing to reduce gun crime while criminalising pistol shooting. He would also like to repeal the War Crimes Act, the Dangerous Dogs Act and legislation that requires football stadiums not to have standing terraces.
4. Mr Carswell signed off a letter condemning Ukip as a “one policy party” less than a month before he defected. Giles Watling, the former Bread actor who ended up standing for the Tories in Clacton sent Mr Carswell a draft of a letter for approval which he was sending to the local paper. The letter said that Ukip's attacks on the Tories were “madness” and that people should not be “fooled into voting Ukip”. Mr Carswell replied in an email that the letter “read very well” and that he would be “delighted” if Mr Watling sent it to the local newspaper. Less than a month later Mr Carswell defected to Ukip. He later denied attacking Ukip and said: “I was decidedly cool towards the sentiment of the letter… my response was that of someone who clearly had doubts”.
5. Mr Carswell was not actually entitled to vote for himself in Thursday's election. His main home is in Fulham, London and his constituency base is 200 yards outside the boundaries of his Parliamentary seat.
6. The new MP has written that he would like to remove legal protections that prevent employees from being fired by companies without following legal disciplinary procedures. He would also scrap rules giving part time workers the same rights to equal pensions and holiday as full time employees.
7. When Mr Carswell was asked about accusations of sexism in Ukip, including a former MEP’s description of women as “sluts” and assertions that “no self-respecting small businessman…would ever employ a lady of child-bearing age”, he called the views “intolerable”. “That’s totally intolerable and not only is it totally intolerable we should say it’s totally intolerable,” he told the Telegraph following his defection to Ukip.
He has also spoken in support for increased maternity and paternity leave, vowing to take on “out of date” attitudes in Ukip.
In pictures: The rise of Ukip
In pictures: The rise of Ukip
1/8 1993: Alan Sked forms Ukip
History professor Alan Sked had been active in anti-EU politics for a while beore he founded Ukip in 1993. He resigned from the party after the 1997 election, concerned that it was attracting far-right members, and has been critical of Ukip since. Picture: Reuters
2/8 2005: Kilroy defects
Former TV presenter Robert Kilroy-Silk founded Veritas in 2005, after a failed bid to become leader, and took many of Ukip's elected members with him. But the party slowly lost its popularity and didn't put forward any candidates in the last election. Picture: REUTERS/Kieran Doherty REUTERS KD/RUS
3/8 2010: Farage becomes leader, again
Farage had led Ukip from 2006 until 2009, when he stood down to fight against the Speaker, John Bercow, for his Buckingham seat. He failed to win the election and returned to lead the party in November 2010. Picture: REUTERS/Kieran Doherty
4/8 2010: Ukip fights for election
Nigel Farage was injured in a plane crash on polling day in the 2010 general election, but his party increased its success in the votes. It fielded 572 candidates and took 3.1% of the vote, though failed to win any seats. REUTERS/Darren Staples
5/8 2013: Eastleigh gains
Ukip's candidate Diane James got the highest ever number of votes for any candidate from the party, but was beaten by the Liberal Democrats. The surge in support gave Ukip confidence ahead of local and European elections later in the year. Picture: Reuters
6/8 2013: Bloom kicked out
Godfrey Bloom, who served as an Ukip MEP from 2004 to 2014, had the whip withdrawn in 2013 after sexist comments and an attack on a journalist. He sat as an independent MEP until 2014, when he ended his term in office. Picture: REUTERS/Luke MacGregor
7/8 2014: European election success
Ukip got a higher proportion of the vote than any other party in 2014's European elections, adding 11 new MEPs and taking its total to 24. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor
8/8 2014: Carswell defects
Douglas Carswell defected from Ukip at the end of August, and was followed by Mark Reckless at the end of September, who resigned from the Tories amid rumours of many more defections to come. Picture: REUTERS/Toby Melville
8. Carswell's first memories were of Uganda under the rule of the brutal dictator Idi Amin. His father was one of a small number of practising surgeons in the country and the first to diagnose a case of Aids in Anglophone Africa. “If you grow up in a country where arbitrary rule leads to the total ruin of society, the suppression of free markets leads to the collapse of living standards, of course you're going to grow up a libertarian,” he has said.
9. Mr Carswell has said on a number of occasions that he believes all party candidates should be selected through open primaries. But Mr Carswell himself ousted Roger Lord, the Ukip candidate in his seat who had already been chosen to fight him at the next election. There was no open primary.
Video: Carswell was heavily criticised by top Tory party figures
10. He may now be signed up to Ukip but is slightly less opposed to immigration that some of his constituents might expect as he made clear in his speech joining the party. “On the subject of immigration, let me make it absolutely clear; I'm not against immigration,” he said. “We should welcome those that want to come here to contribute. We need those with skills and drive. There's hardly a hospital, GP surgery or supermarket in the country that could run without that skill and drive.”
11. He thinks the police should be placed under the control of locally elected Sheriffs - who would be able set local sentencing guidelines for criminals.
12. Mr Carswell also appears not to mind about changing his mind. In April he wrote: “In order to exit the EU, we need David Cameron to be prime minister in 2017 - the year when we get the in/out referendum, our chance to leave the EU.” He clearly no longer believes that.Reuse content