A UKIP councillor says the party will ‘continue to move forward’ despite the loss of its only MP, as Douglas Carswell announced he was leaving the party.
Mr Carswell, who previously defected to the party from the Tories, made the announcement on his blog today to say that he was ‘amicably’ leaving the party and that he would be standing as an independent.
Councillor Julie Bird, deputy group leader of the Ukip group on Portsmouth City Council said the announcement came as ‘no surprise’ labelling Mr Carswell as ‘a bit of a maverick.’
She said: ‘This really does not come as much of a surprise to anyone.
‘He has always been a bit of a maverick, even when he was a Tory and I don’t think that this will really have much of an impact on the party.
‘The party will continue to move forward with or without him. We still have peers in the House of Lords and in the various assemblies so this really won’t have that much of an effect.’
Mr Carswell’s decision to resign comes following a public spat with the party’s biggest financial backer Arron Banks, an ally of former leader Nigel Farage, who previously suggested that he could trigger a by-election for the Clacton seat and stand against Mr Carswell.
Speaking in his blog, Mr Carswell wrote: ‘It has been an extraordinary achievement. Ukip, my party, which was founded in 1993 in order to get Britain out of the European Union, has now achieved what we were established to do.
‘Ukip might not have managed win many seats in parliament, but in a way we are the most successful political party in Britain ever. We have achieved what we were established to do - and in doing so we have changed the course of our country’s history for the better.
‘Like many of you, I switched to Ukip because I desperately wanted to leave the EU. Now we can be certain that that is going to happen, I have decided that I will be leaving Ukip.
‘I will leave Ukip amicably, cheerfully, and in the knowledge that we won.’