Ukip's only MP Douglas Carswell says Nigel Farage should 'take a break'

Carswell’s criticism comes a day after Farage told critics to back him as leader or step down from party

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Indy Politics

One of Ukip’s most visible figures, Douglas Carswell, has made a public attack on Nigel Farage’s position as leader after a week of internal party fighting, saying that he should "take a break".

Mr Carswell, who was the only member of Ukip to be elected to Parliament earlier this month, thanked Mr Farage for his inspirational efforts as leader but said that “even leaders need to take a break”.

The comments come after Mr Farage yesterday called on anonymous Ukip critics who had been briefing against him to either challenge his leadership or support the party’s decision for him to stay on after refusing his resignation.

Writing in The Times, Mr Carswell also condemned Mr Farage’s "ill-advised" comments on immigrants with HIV coming to Britain to access free treatment on the NHS.

He wrote that Ukip was most effective when it was optimistic, saying that “anger is never a great way to motivate people,” if Ukip wanted to maintain its current public popularity.

Mr Farage has been mocked over the past week for resigning as party leader before announcing that Ukip’s executive committee had refused to accept his resignation and he would be staying on.

Carswell is not the only member of Ukip to have fallen out with the party leader this week – Patrick O’Flynn, Ukip’s economic spokesman, claimed Mr Farage had become “snarling thin-skinned and aggressive,” while turning the party into a personality cult.

Mr Carswell’s article is the latest escalation in what began as a stand-off with Mr Farage over how to spend £650,000 of taxpayers’ money. The party had wanted to hire up to 15 additional staff, although Mr Carswell has said he will not claim the full amount. Mr Carswell denied that he would quit Ukip, a move that would deny the party the money.

In response to the comments, a Ukip spokesman said: "It is absolutely true that our focus has to be on the referendum. We have fought so hard to get it we must concentrate on that. There is not even a cigarette paper between Nigel and Douglas on that aspect.

"On the aspect of taking a break – he will be taking a holiday like every politician will be over the summer and he will be taking a break to recharge. He’s probably going to take a longer holiday this time than he has done for years.

"Paul Nuttal will be deputy leader during that period and we will take things forward."

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