POLITICS

Ukip Should Become The SNP Of England, Says Ukip MP Douglas Carswell

01/07/2015 13:25 BST | Updated 01/07/2015 14:00 BST
Matt Dunham/AP
Newly elected U.K. Independence Party (UKIP) Member of Parliament Douglas Carswell gives a double thumbs-up as he poses for the media upon his arrival to take his seat at the Houses of Parliament in London, Monday, Oct. 13, 2014. The U.K. Independence Party won a seat in the British Parliament for the first time on Friday, a significant breakthrough for the anti-immigration force and a protest vote against the country's mainstream parties. UKIP candidate Douglas Carswell won the special election in the eastern England constituency of Clacton-on-Sea with 21,113 votes. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Douglas Carswell has said Ukip needs a "radical" democratic agenda in order to replicate in England the SNP's success in Scotland.

Speaking at the IPPR think-tank in central-London on Tuesday evening, the Ukip MP also poked fun at his party's failure to get more than one MP elected to parliament in May and reported tensions between him and Nigel Farage.

"The parliamentary party is very democratic," he joked. "I had a rebellion, I put it down brutally and savagely."

Following the election, Ukip was consumed by a period of bitter infighting that saw Carswell, along with others, accused of plotting to oust Farage as party leader.

Despite winning over four million votes at the election, Carswell was the only Ukip MP elected to the Commons. The Clacton MP said this imbalance showed the need to challenge for Labour safe seats in the north.

And he said one of the reasons he was so excited about having defected from the Conservatives to Ukip before the election was it could be a "vehicle for real change" to the electoral makeup of the country.

"My new party is doing rather well in those fiefdom heartlands, particularly in the north of England and I think if we can do that without having a clear compelling reformist agenda, imagine what we are going to do in the next five years," he said.

"If we are culturally the equivalent of the SNP south of the border and if we have a radical progressive reformist agenda, if the Left is going to be half asleep on this, we are not going to be."

Carswell advocated a change in the electoral system that would see each constituency send both the first and second placed candidates to parliament.

In May, Ukip came second in 120 constituencies. Many in the Labour Party are concerned Farage's party could pose a serious threat across the north in 2020.

Carswell also predicted that the public would choose to "vote for withdrawal" in the upcoming in/out referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union. "I think when that happens, it's going to create this extraordinary sense of possibility and extraordainry sense of how can we do things better now we can do them for ourselves," he said.

And he boldly said the atmosphere post 'Brexit' would mirror that of the London Olympic Games in 2012. "During the Olympics a few years ago I remember feeling this great sense of buzz, it seemed for a few heady days we could do anything, and I suspect that you're not going to have to spend billions of pounds organising a spots event to do that. I think if we vote for 'Out' people will feel that there will be this sense of huge possibility," he said.

Last month David Cameron made fun of Carswell and Ukip's internal problems during prime minister's questions. "He has made some history because as a party of one he has managed to have a backbench rebellion, which is something to be admired," he said.