UKIP’s sole MP has caused consternation by refusing to endorse Nigel Farage’s return as the party’s leader.
Douglas Carswell was asked repeatedly if he supported the decision to keep Mr Farage as leader but declined to respond directly.
The MP for Clacton was one of the panellists at a question and answer session in London organised by Conservative Home when he was asked his views after UKIP’s national executive refused to accept Mr Farage’s resignation.
Mr Carswell replied: "I heard about the unresignation on, I think Twitter, or whatever. You'll need to ask me about it later I'm not going to talk about that now.”
Best General Election 2015 quotes
Best General Election 2015 quotes
1/10 1. "Am I tough enough? Hell, yes, I'm tough enough."
Ed Miliband bats away suggestions he would be too weak on the international stage. It likely to go down as one of the quotes we remember this election by.
Matthew Lewis/Getty Images
2/10 2. "If I'm getting lively about it, it's because I feel bloody lively about it."
David Cameron attempts to prove how passionate he is about wanting a second term as Prime Minister after Tory donors criticised his lack of enthusiasm.
3/10 3. "Oh it's crats? I thought it was Liberal Demo-cats"
Reality TV star Joey Essex is taught a thing or two during his meeting with Nick Clegg.
4/10 4. "Brain fade"
Green party leader Natalie Bennett gave what was described as the "worst political leader's interview ever" on LBC Radio as she fails to answer how the Greens would pay for its ambitious housing policies.
5/10 5. "We're a shining example of a country where multiple identities work. Where you can be Welsh and Hindu and British, Northern Irish and Jewish and British, where you can wear a kilt and a turban, where you can wear a hijab covered in poppies. Where you can support Man Utd, the Windies and Team GB all at the same time. Of course, I'd rather you supported West Ham"
David Cameron experienced his own brain fade when he forgot which football team he supported.
6/10 6. “This is a real career-defining … country-defining election that we face in less than a week’s time”
The Prime Minister made another gaffe when he made it sound like the election was all about himself.
7/10 7. “Ed Miliband stabbed his own brother in the back to become Labour leader. Now he is willing to stab the United Kingdom in the back to become prime minister.”
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon launched a vicious personal attack on Ed Miliband.
8/10 8. "Ajockalypse Now."
The colourful term used by Boris Johnson to describe a Labour government propped up by the SNP.
JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images
9/10 9. “The SNP are openly racist. The anti-English hostility, and the kind of language that is used about and towards English people, is totally extraordinary.”
Nigel Farage launches an attack on Nicola Sturgeon and her SNP party.
10/10 10. "Terms are like Shredded Wheat. Two are wonderful, three might be too many."
David Cameron rules out a third term as Prime Minister.
When challenged afterwards for his views and even whether he planned to leave UKIP he responded: “No comment.”
His responses prompted speculation that he intends to defect back to the Conservatives, and former Tory colleague Louise Mensch taunted him in tweets: “Problem; he believes if you switch parties you need to resign and fight a by-election, and he'll lose a by-election.
“On the other hand @DouglasCarswell, you ditched your opposition to centrally-imposed candidates sharpish when it suited you eh?”
During the Q&A session Mr Carswell made remarks that suggest he is critical of Mr Farage’s leadership.
In particular, he referred to Mr Farage’s attack on Romanian immigrants last year when he said he would not like to live next door to them.
“If the case for leaving the EU is basically an argument framed as a debate between people who are anti-Romanian immigrants verses business interests, the 'out' campaign will lose,” Mr Carswell was quoted by the Huffington Post.
“If, on the other hand, this is presented as a pragmatic step to make Britain a more free-market, open, classical liberal society, then I think we can win it.”
He added: “That means making arguments in a way that is softer, more gentle. And we need to recognise that if you want to be listened to sometimes you need to adjust your tone. And I think we need to do that and we will fight a very inclusive campaign.”
Mr Carswell had already ruled himself out of standing for the UKIP leadership and said in a blog post published earlier yesterday that he thought there were at least six other candidates who would do the job better.
In the blog he described himself as “despondent” at learning of Mr Farage’s defeat in the South Thanet constituency at the election but took heart from knowing that with the Conservatives in government there would be a referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union.
“Nigel Farage has been an inspirational leader,” he wrote. “Like hundreds of thousands of other people, he inspired me to leave the comfort of by previous party, and join him. I was prepared to resign from Parliament and fight a by election in order to do so. I feel gutted that he is no longer our leader.
“Ukip's next leader needs to be someone that recognises our party exists first and foremost to get Britain out of the European Union. We should take heart from the fact that there now appears to be, for the first time in a generation, a Commons majority in favour of holding an In Out referendum.”Reuse content