Douglas Carswell defection: Clacton’s existing Ukip candidate vows to fight on regardless

 

While the defection of Clacton’s Tory MP was being celebrated by Ukip’s leadership in London today, there were some back in the seaside town who were less enthusiastic.

Ukip’s current candidate for one. Roger Lord, who was preparing to take on Douglas Carswell as a Conservative in next year’s general election, is now warning that he will challenge the former MP for the right to represent Ukip in the forthcoming by-election.

“As far as I’m concerned I’m carrying on,” he told Buzzfeed, the internet news site.

Recalling dangerous situations in Pakistan and South America, Ukip’s other candidate for Clacton says he has “faced bigger threats from real killers”.

“If they think they can walk up to me and push me then I’ll push back,” he vowed. “I’ve never run away from anything.  Until they fire me, shoot me, or blow me out of the party for being a rebel, then I’m here.”

Despite Nigel Farage describing Mr Carswell’s decision to resign as an MP and stand for Ukip in a by-election as “one of the most remarkable things I’ve seen in my political lifetime”, activists in the town say there is no guarantee that the local association is happy to adopt Mr Carswell as their official candidate.

Although he may now face an internal battle, people on the streets of Clacton think that the former Tory MP’s move is a wise one.

“Carswell is a really nice guy and I think he realised that he would lose if he stayed a Tory, so it’s a smart decision,” says Darren Lock.

The 28 year-old recently lost his job at Tesco and said unemployment is a big issue in the town. Clacton’s heyday as a popular holiday resort for Londoners is long behind it and there is a palpable sense of faded grandeur in the town centre.

Elouise Farell, 20, a child minder, said she intends to vote for Ukip.

“I think immigration is a problem. There is a culture clash and it can bring violence. You get stabbings and mugging a that never used to happen.”

Ann Offord, a library manager aged 57, was thrilled by the news that her MP had switched party. “I didn’t vote for him last time, but I definitely will now. I think we should come out of Europe and stop immigration – I think it’s a bad thing.”

Two doors down from Mr Carswell’s constituency office is Gossips Cafe. The owner Navin Ramruttan, 60, is bemused by the defection.

“I just don’t know why he’s switching. He’s a good MP and he’s been a Conservative for a long time. I’m a bit surprised to be honest.”

But Peter Blunt, 74, was less impressed. “I won’t be voting for Ukip, no way. I will continue to vote Conservative.”

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