Nigel Farage 'doesn't particularly want' a knighthood and denies sour grapes as source of Douglas Carswell feud

Former leader accuses Ukip’s only MP of being in cahoots with the Conservatives

Rachel Roberts@TheRachelPaper
Wednesday 01 March 2017 12:34
Nigel Farage said he wouldn’t ‘particulalry’ want a knighthood and has no desire to sit in the Lords
Nigel Farage said he wouldn’t ‘particulalry’ want a knighthood and has no desire to sit in the Lords

Nigel Farage has said he “doesn’t particularly want” a knighthood and denied his public feud with the party’s only MP Douglas Carswell had anything to do with him not being granted a title.

Speaking on the BBC’s Today programme, the former party leader called for former Tory Mr Carswell to be expelled from the party because he believes he is “damaging Ukip”.

Following party in-fighting over the past year and a leaked email which suggests Mr Carswell actively sought to prevent MEP Mr Farage being awarded a knighthood, the two have engaged in an increasingly bitter war of words which has descended into farce on Twitter.

Asked twice by interviewer John Humphreys if he would like a knighthood, Mr Farge said: “I’d like to see Britain leave the European Union … not particularly.

“Whether I would have got one or not I’ve no idea but the point is, he (Mr Carswell) will do anything he can to damage leading figures in the party. He is working for the Conservatives, it’s plain for all to see.”

Mr Farage insisted he had no desire to sit in the House of Lords in the future. Asked if he would like a peerage, he said, “No, wouldn’t want one at all.

“I would not want a peerage, if something else came along, I might accept it but I would not want a peerage.

“I’m still leading a group in the European Parliament and once Article 50 gets declared (at the) end of next week possibly, there’s going to be a big job to do.”

Mr Farage was frank about his personal animosity towards Clacton MP Mr Carswell – who he welcomed into the party in 2014, calling his defection “the bravest and most honourable thing I have ever seen in British politics”.

“I dislike him because he damaged me, Ukip and the Leave campaign…at the European Summit in 2015, I said then to the party’s ruling body, ‘You’ve got to get rid of this guy’. They didn’t listen to me.

“He did his best all through the referendum to undermine me but wasn’t able to do so.”

Mr Carswell has said he jumped ship to Ukip “with the express goal of changing the image of Ukip and ensuring that it was an asset rather than a liability in the referendum campaign … to decontaminate the brand”.

Mr Farage accused Mr Carswell of being in cahoots with the Tories both during the referendum campaign and ever since.

“He’s been working against us ever since the General Election, working with his Tory friends, and working frankly, not just to divide Ukip, but to quote him, to neutralise Ukip in the referendum campaign, and what I’m saying to the party is, we should have got rid of him a long time ago, he’s behaved very dishonestly.”

Mr Farage called for embattled Ukip leader Paul Nuttall, who last week lost a bruising by-election to Labour after a shambolic campaign, to be given a “clear run”.

Challenged on whether Ukip is now a party without a purpose because the UK looks almost certain to leave the EU, Mr Farage claimed there are four million people who would Ukip if a General Election was called tomorrow.

He called for Ukip to be a “radical” rather than a “mainstream” party and said it “needs to bide its time and get it right”.

On the question of what he will do when the UK eventually leaves the EU, he said: “It’s a very successful politics, isn’t it? We are the turkeys that voted for Christmas.

“All I want to see is Britain cleanly outside the European Union. We need to do that for the sake of the future of this country and I’m gonna battle on over these next two years to make sure it happens.”

He didn’t rule out working for President Donald Trump – with whom he shares a mutual admiration – saying simply, “You never know do you?”

The two Ukip politicians took their spat to Twitter last night, with Mr Carswell tweeting “Knight Knight” along with a smiley-faced emoji wearing a pair of sunglasses.

Mr Farage – who was educated at Dulwich College, an exclusive public school – accused Mr Carswell of being a “Tory posh boy” in a series of media appearances.

This morning, Mr Carswell posted a picture from the window of his House of Commons office, with the message: “Beautiful spring day in Whitehall – view from the Ukip parliamentary party office.”

It has been reported that Ukip’s multi-millionaire chief donor Arron Banks intends to stand against Mr Carswell in the next General Election – which could result in the party losing its only MP.

Mr Carswell won his Essex seat with a slim majority of just 3,437 in 2015.

It is unclear whether Mr Banks will stand as an independent or seek to be the Ukip candidate – and there have been suggestions that Mr Carswell may defect back to the Conservatives.

Leader Paul Nuttall has reportedly intervened and asked Ukip chairman Paul Oakden to meet Mr Carswell for urgent talks on his future in the party.

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