The Daily Telegraph

Ukip to ask voters in Clacton if they want a by-election

- By Christophe­r Hope

DOUGLAS CARSWELL is facing pressure to call a by-election after Nigel Farage said voters in the former Ukip MP’s Clacton seat would be asked if they wanted one.

Ex-Ukip donor Arron Banks will pay for the Electoral Reform Society to canvas Clacton on a by-election after Mr Carswell quit Ukip on Saturday.

Mr Farage, a former Ukip leader, said the plan would “test how honourable he is” because in 2012 Mr Carswell said an MP should call a by-election if more than a fifth of voters wanted one.

Mr Carswell insisted he would not call an election because he had not switched parties and he refused to rule out rejoining the Conservati­ves before the next general election, telling the BBC’s Sunday Politics programme: “Let’s wait and see.”

MPs can only be legally required to face a “recall petition” if they are sent to prison or suspended from the Commons for at least 21 days. In these circumstan­ces, “at least 10 per cent of eligible electors” have to agree.

Asked if he was “gutted” by the departure, Mr Farage said: “Thank God. No! He’s been working against us for a very long time.” Ukip leader Paul Nuttall said: “Ukip will be opening nomination­s for Clacton very soon.”

Ukip is refusing to pay back £200,000 to Mr Banks for use of his call centres and membership services. Asked if he would pay the cash back, Mr Nuttall said: “No, no.”

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