The MP for Clacton tells Prospect why he will not run for re-electionby Alex Dean / April 20, 2017 / Leave a comment
Douglas Carwell, the Independent MP for Clacton, walked through the glass-roofed atrium of Portcullis House and took a seat in the building’s member’s lounge. Elites “are in the process of pivoting—and it is a glory to watch,” he said, nursing a cup of coffee. He is pleased that, having initially campaigned against Brexit, “elites” are on their way to implementing it. Carswell’s campaign work helped “Leave” to achieve its stunning victory in last year’s EU referendum.
Carswell spoke to Prospect on Tuesday, the day that Theresa May called a snap general election and has since announced that he will not be standing in it, writing on his website that: “I have done everything possible to ensure we got, and won, a referendum to leave the European Union… I have decided that I will not now be seeking re-election.” He told Prospect exclusively: “I’ve stood for election 5 times. Won four, helped win a referendum. I feel I’ve done my bit.” Gisela Stuart, another leading Brexiteer, has announced she will not stand in June. Carswell said: “I suspect we were thinking the same thing.”
If there is one thing that’s certain, though, it is this: Carswell will not just go away. Having delivered one revolution, he has his eyes set on another. In the wake of his announcement today he told me: “I’m certainly looking for what next to do.”
Carswell was elected a Conservative MP in 2005, and then in 2014 he dramatically defected to Ukip. His reason? David Cameron was not “serious about change” in Europe, he said. Carswell certainly was. When the referendum was announced in early 2016 he set to work, and quickly became the Leave camp’s intellectual muscle—along with his longtime friend and collaborator the Tory MEP Daniel Hannan. In March, he left Ukip and became an independent MP, and at the same time published his most recent book. This new volume will only help bolster his reputation as a fearsome Brexit attack dog. At 400 pages, it covers politics, economics, Roman history, ancient Greek philosophy and much else in-between. He is signing off with a bang.
Its title provides a valuable clue as to Carswell’s way of thinking: Rebel. He explains: “It is both a verb and a noun.” He is anointing himself a rebel, and also instructing the reader to do the same—rebel! Carswell cultivates…