POLITICS
01/03/2015 11:57 GMT | Updated 01/03/2015 11:59 GMT

Douglas Carswell Rules Out Ever Becoming Ukip Leader

Stefan Rousseau/PA Archive
UKIP leader Nigel Farage (left) with Douglas Carswell during a press conference in central London where the Conservative MP defected to his party today.

Ukip MP Douglas Carswell has ruled out ever standing to become the party's leader. Asked on Sunday morning whether he would one day want to succeed Nigel Farage, Carswell told Sky News: "Absolutely not, I will never, ever, lead a political party."

Carswell, who became Ukip's first elected MP after defecting from the Tories last year, added that "it would be bad for me" and "it would be bad for the party" should he become leader.

The Clacton MP frequently faces the suggestion that he and Farage are at odds over several areas of Ukip policy. In the past Farage has said he expects the next leader of Ukip to be a woman.

On Friday, Farage used his speech at Ukip's spring conference to dismiss the suggestion ill-health was restricting his ability to lead Ukip. He told party members: "Rumours of my demise have been greatly exaggerated."

Farage has kept a lower national profile in recent weeks. But he said that was because he was campaigning in South Thanet, the seat he hopes to win at the general election.

"There has been some considerable speculation as to my whereabouts," he said. "My absence from the Westminster scene has even led our opponents to spread some really quite malicious and unpleasant speculation about my health. It's said I am seriously ill and that's why I've not been seen."

Farage also made clear he has no intention of calling it quits any time soon. "We are going to win lots of seats in this general election and I hope very much to be leading this party not just into this general election, but in al the elections to come."

Last week Carswell was also forced to reject suggestions there was an ideological split with Farage over immigration."I don't think I could get into a lift at the moment without somebody writing an article somewhere saying Nigel Farage would have take the stairs. I keep on being told that whatever I do is at odds with the party leader, it is simply not the case," Carswell said.