Yet another row has erupted—this time between Farage and Carswellby Tom Quinn / March 3, 2017 / Leave a comment
Brexit has not been kind to UKIP. Since Britain voted to leave the EU in June last year, the party that helped to bring about the referendum has suffered a nervous breakdown. Over recent days yet more squabbling has taken place, with Nigel Farage and Douglas Carswell engaging in a very public feud.
Shortly after the referendum result the party’s then leader, Nigel Farage, tendered his resignation, his work having been done, and MEP Diane James won the contest to succeed him. She lasted just 18 days before resigning because of a lack of authority among senior colleagues, and Farage returned temporarily to hold the fort. There quickly followed an altercation between two UKIP MEPs, Steven Woolfe and Mike Hookem, with Woolfe, a candidate to replace James, ending up in hospital. Eventually, another MEP, Paul Nuttall, convincingly won UKIP’s second leadership election of 2016.
After being chosen as UKIP’s parliamentary candidate for the Stoke Central by-election, Nuttall was expected to perform well and perhaps take a seat from Labour in the type of working-class Leave-supporting constituency that he says the party should target. Instead, his campaign was derailed by media coverage that depicted him as a Walter Mitty-type character. Nuttall acknowledged that, despite suggestions to the contrary, he had not lost close friends in the Hillsborough disaster. He also said past statements on websites—linked to him—that he held a PhD and was once on Tranmere Rovers’ books as a professional footballer were nothing to do with him. His credibility was left in tatters and it would be no surprise to see UKIP soon searching for its fourth leader in less than a year.
And now, just when it looked as though UKIP had hit rock-bottom, a row has erupted involving Farage and Carswell—the party’s only MP. In an article for the Daily Telegraph, Farage accused Carswell or fomenting division and called for him to leave UKIP. There followed claims that Farage’s chances of a knighthood had been frustrated by Carswell. Leaked email exchanges between Carswell and the UKIP peer (and another former leader), Lord Malcolm Pearson, appeared to show Carswell mocking Farage’s hopes of a gong. UKIP’s biggest donor, Arron Banks, reportedly accused Carswell of being “a green-eyed jealous monster when it comes to Nigel.”