Douglas Carswell was today accused by Sky News’ Kay Burley of “running scared” of the voters by refusing to trigger a by-election in his Clacton constituency after quitting Ukip.
The ex-Ukip MP now sits as an independent in the House of Commons having ditched his former party on Saturday.
Carswell famously defected from the Conservatives to Ukip in 2014 and triggered a by-election in his seat.
At the time, he said asking his constituents approval for his decision to switch parties was the “honourable” thing to do.
However the leading Brexit campaigner has argued he does not need to hold another by-election because he has not joined another party.
Burley, who was interviewing Carswell from Clacton, said many of his constituents had told her he should submit himself to another vote.
Kay Burley: “You are running scared really aren’t you? You think you might not win a by-election, which is why you won’t call one. If you were cast-iron, you would call one.”
Douglas Carswell: “Do I strike you as someone who is particularly scared of by-elections? I triggered a by-election and won it.”
Kay Burley: “Yes, you do.”
Carswell told the Sky News presenter he was “all in favour” of democratic elections. “I love by-elections, I love referendums, I love general elections,” he said.
However he said if a by-election had to be called everytime an MP resigned the party whip, or had it withdrawn, it would “empower the party bosses” rather than voters.
“I am not triggering a by-election. Several days on from my decision to resign the whip, there will be no by-election in Clacton. I water-tight on this issue,” he said.
It has been widely speculated Carswell may now re-join the Tories. He told Burley:”If I was to rejoin the Conservatives, consistent with what I’ve just told you, I would need to tigger a by-election and I’m not about to do that.”
He added he had been “tediously, boringly rigidly consistent” on his desire for the UK to leave the EU.
Carswell’s future in Ukip had been in doubt for some time as he had spectacularly fallen out with Nigel Farage.
It is claimed in the book chronicling the referendum campaign, ‘The Brexit Club’, that Carswell only joined Ukip as part of a plot concocted with “neutralise” Farage.
Carswell also had a small dig at Farage during the Sky News interview, noting that the former Ukip leader’s attempts at getting elected to parliament himself ahad “not always worked out well for him”.