Ukip should “disband” and “go home” after achieving its primary objective of taking Britain out of the EU, the party’s former MP has said.
Douglas Carswell was the only Ukip MP to be elected at the 2015 general election but he quit at the end of March after a long-running feud with other elements within the party.
Asked what he thought should happen to Ukip now, Mr Carswell joked about Nigel Farage’s reported wish to be knighted and said that “if you’ve won a battle or a war you disband and you go home”.
The Clacton MP, who currently sits as an independent, also dubbed Theresa a “real revolutionary” and suggested that Mr Farage would have lost the referendum for the Leave campaign had he debated David Cameron head-to-head on television.
Asked what should happen to Ukip, Mr Carswell said: “Job done. It’s one of those really weird things … anyone who stuck a microphone under my chin for the last ten years will have heard me say we’ve got to leave the European Union. Theresa May then triggers Article 50 and I say ‘job done’ and everyone says ‘what did you mean by that?’.”
“I think we’ve done our job, and I think we should award ourselves a medal, or a knighthood, and take pride that we’ve won. But generally speaking, if you’ve won a battle or a war you disband and you go home and you reach out to the people that you beat and you try and win the peace. That’s what we need to do.”
Speaking at an event hosted by the Institute for Government Mr Carswell criticised those who would “want to cry betrayal and re-live the campaign”, adding: “It’s over and we’ve won”.
The comments come after another former UKip MP Mark Reckless last week left the party went announced he would now sit with the Tories in the Welsh Assembly. Former Ukip leader Diane James has also said he would consider standing for the Conservatives in 2020.
In a wide-ranging discussion Mr Carswell also claimed Brexit was “not an angry nativist xenophobic vote” but rather a contest that “was won precisely because it was an argument about Britain being open, internationalist, generous, and globalist”.
“If you want evidence of this just imagine what would have happened in the referendum if my former party leader had led the Leave campaign and debates with my former-former party leader David Cameron, with Nigel having the Syria posters behind him and David Cameron having the business community behind him,” he said.
"Imagine what the result would have been … it could not have been won if we’d focused on immigration.
Referring to Theresa May, he said: “In an age of anti-politics the real revolutionary we’ve got is a vicar’s daughter from Maidenhead. Isn’t that vastly preferable to what’s happening in France, isn’t that vastly preferable to what’s happening in Italy? I think the system works and actually Brexit will be seen as a profoundly different sort of upheaval.”
Mr Carswell defected to Ukip in 2014 at a by-election, after having previously held the seat as a Conservative.
A Ukip spokesperson hit back: “Though he might trust this Government to deliver, the signs are it will fail to deliver the clean Brexit that the country demands.
“It is a foolish general who disbands before the end of the process. There again, if he feels that way, why hasn't he resigned his seat?”
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