Ukip MP Douglas Carswell admits 'loyalty to all Eurosceptics'

Douglas Carswell

Douglas Carswell, Ukip’s only MP, has admitted that he has loyalties to members of other parties, a day after his leader, Nigel Farage, claimed the Tory defector still had ties to the Conservatives.

Carswell made the admission after he was accused by Farage of having “residual loyalties” to his former party following a furious public bust-up with a Ukip donor, which exposed deep divisions at the top of the Eurosceptic party.

Carswell stormed out of the conference on Friday, claiming donor Arron Banks threatened to get him deselected unless he backed the businessman’s new Leave.EU campaign group.

He instead pledged his loyalty to the separate Business For Britain, which has refused to sign up to the new umbrella organisation, leading Banks to describe Carswell as “borderline autistic”.

On Saturday, Carswell insisted he would be loyal to any Eurosceptic as he called on Ukip to work with all anti-Brussels groups, and he denied any split between him and Farage, despite failing to mention the Ukip leader once during his speech to conference the day before.

He told Sky News: “I was asked to speak about electoral reform; I talked about change and I think it’s unfair of you to try and read anything into it. In fact, I have just been chatting to him right here now.”

He added: “I have a great deal of loyalty to people in all parties if they are Eurosceptic and I’m very loyal to Eurosceptics because that’s how we need to win the referendum.”

Carswell said he had kept Ukip informed about his involvement in the Business For Britain campaign group.

He added: “It’s very important that, as is the party line, we work with any group that stands a realistic chance of getting designation and I’m doing that and it is very important that I continue to do that.”

In his speech at the Ukip gathering in Doncaster, Carswell had told supporters: “We must put our country first. This isn’t a case of who’s going to win democratic elections, this is about whether we remain a self-governing democracy at all.

“We must be prepared to work with anyone: left or right, politician or undecided, all backgrounds, all faiths, all colours, all people. There are good, honourable, patriotic members of all parties, we must work with them all.

“It’s not enough to win by offering opposition to Brussels, our challenge is to show how Britain can prosper outside the EU. It’s an enormous honour to have joined Ukip a year ago. I made many friends and have been incredibly warmly welcomed.

“Together we have got an enormous referendum battle ahead; let everything that we do be about winning it, let’s do it.”

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Damien Gayle, for theguardian.com on Saturday 26th September 2015 12.33 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010