A big public split with Carswell was almost inevitable
The very public row that has broken out between Farage and his party’s only MP, Douglas Carswell, was one that had been widely predicted. The only issue was what would spark it off.
For because of his unique MP status it is up to Carswell to decide on how the public funds that UKIP is due from what is known as Short money should be used. The Clacton MP believes passionately in a smaller state and could not see how the sum involved, £600k, could be justified
What this highlights is how important it is that Farage as party leader should be an MP. His failure in Thanet South last Thursday was a huge blow for him and his party.
The signs are that Farage will endeavour to get into the Commons at a by-election but the timing and location of that are clearly out of his control.
Back in February 2013 I could not understand why he stood aside at the Eastleigh by election. It had been clear for at least a year beforehand that there was a big chance that a vacancy would occur there and Farage had stood for UKIP in the seat at a previous by election.
Given that his party’s surge was just starting at that time this presented an ideal opportunity for him to become an MP. For whatever reason he decided against and saw the UKIP candidate come in second very close behind.
In politics you have to take opportunities as they come and it says a lot about Farage that he didn’t.
Now the speculation is that Carswell might leave and there’s even a betting market that he’ll rejoin the Tories.