Douglas Carswell Is Not In the Good Books Of Ukip Chairman Steve Crowther After Leadership Comments

Tensions at Ukip HQ are continuing to simmer as the party’s chairman has urged he party's only MP to keep his "very unhelpful" public calls for a change of leadership behind closed doors.

Steve Crowther said that Douglas Carswell was "absolutely wrong" to suggest that a disappointing result in the Oldham by-election showed Nigel Farage had taken the party as far as he could, the Press Association reported.

He told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme that the row would be discussed when the party's National Executive Committee - on which both the politicians sit - meets next month.

Douglas Carswell's latest comments have added to tensions in Ukip

He said: “This is very unhelpful. As a party chairman it is not something I relish.

“There is a time and a place to have discussions about the leadership of the party but I don't think that on the eve of an EU summit or on the BBC is either of them.

"This news was released on the day we were celebrating the utter collapse of the Prime Minister's negotiating position in Europe."

Carswell's demand for a "fresh face" at the head of the party earlier this week prompted a "put up or shut up" retort from Farage, who hinted that the ex-Tory's future in Ukip was under threat.

When asked what he thought were the motivations for Carswell - who insists he does not want the leadership, Crowther said: "Douglas is an independent thinker. It's his principal characteristic as a politician.

"He is just voicing his view.

"But, as I said, musing aloud is all very fine and dandy but it's not very helpful if you are trying to maintain some sort of party direction and discipline."

He went on: "All political parties have conversations about how it's going. But these are things that ought to be held within the party.

"Douglas is a member of the National Executive Committee and the NEC will be wanting to speak to him about this in January.

"They will be wanting to talk about the thing we want to do, which is to run a really coherent and cohesive campaign to leave the European Union.

"And this has been going very well. The polls are moving in our direction."

Despite calling for Farage to go, Carswell has said he does not want to be leader himself. He said there are "a lot of talented people in the party" and that "no party is defined by any one person".

Speaking to Sky News earlier this week, Farage said he was "relieved" Carswell had finally gone public with his call for a change of leadership.

"He’s been having a go at me every single day since the general election, it's just that he’s been doing it in private briefing members officials or the press," Farage said.

"We are a very strongly united party. If you look at NEC of Ukip the MEP group of Ukip, I’ve got terrific support."