Ukip’s only MP has said Nigel Farage “went too far” in whipping up fear of immigration and insisted the party now has a huge opportunity after his resignation as leader.
Douglas Carswell again criticised the Breaking Point poster Mr Farage revealed in the EU referendum campaign and said Ukip would benefit from having a leadership contest.
He said 70 per cent of Labour MPs represent constituencies where a majority voted to leave the EU, meaning they are “fundamentally out of touch” with their constituents as they overwhelmingly backed Remain. Ukip now has a chance to capitalise at elections if the party can generate new ideas and offer hope to those voters, he said.
Mr Farage has often found himself at loggerheads with the Clacton MP over the direction of the party. And Mr Carswell told BBC2’s Daily Politics: “He spent 20 years pushing for a referendum, we had the referendum and it was won by 17.5 million people, and he played a role in that. I’ll be honest, six months ago I was talking about the need for change.
“I do think all parties benefit – it may not look like it today, this week – but all parties ultimately benefit for having these internal, democratic, inclusive contests because it’s the way of generating new ideas and allowing the most able to get to the top.”
On Mr Farage’s rhetoric on immigration, Mr Carswell said: “We went too far, and I criticised it when we went too far. And it’s not just morally wrong, it’s electorally disastrous. This is a decent, generous country. People have a legitimate right to feel a sense of anger with their politicians but the answer is not to play on people’s fears.”