Ukip’s only MP, Douglas Carswell, has claimed his party could displace Labour as the main electoral threat to the Conservatives, dispatching the party in England the same way the SNP did in Scotland.
In a blogpost on his website, Carswell said the party could be “an alternative to Labour” by offering something radically different.
The Clacton MP’s view has echoes of the repeated claims by Nigel Farage that Ukip could “smash” Labour’s “one-party state” in the north of England.
However, Carswell challenged the idea that there was anything leftwing – or “Red Ukip” – about trying to break Labour’s dominance in the north and become the main opposition party.
Rather than “aping the left”, Ukip could attract voters by setting itself up as the party of the people rather than one that defends big corporations, he said.
Carswell claimed Labour had abandoned socialism and was now a “corporatist” party. He said Labour espoused “tax breaks for a favoured few”, subsidies to the energy companies, bailouts for bankers and allowed corporate lobbyists to “hover around the party like flies”.
The general election appeared to show Ukip was as much a danger to Labour as the Conservatives, with Farage’s party coming second to both parties in an equal number of seats.
Ukip is undergoing a major ideological battle over the party’s future, with Carswell calling for Farage to adopt a more consensual leadership style. Farage, meanwhile, has strengthened his position as leader after the rapprochement with Carswell and the resignation of the economics spokesman Patrick O’Flynn, for describing the leader as a “snarling, thin-skinned, and aggressive” person.
Tensions are still simmering over Ukip’s role in the EU in/out referendum campaign.
After confirming he would be leaving the party, Farage’s former chief of staff, Raheem Kassam, said he wanted to keep an eye on an attempted takeover of the party by “Red Ukip”, those perceived to be on the left of the organisation.
This article was written by Ben Farren and Rowena Mason, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 19th May 2015 17.36 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010