Douglas Carswell dismisses Nigel Farage's claim he is 'irrelevant'


Ukip's sole MP has dismissed party leader Nigel Farage's description of him as "irrelevant" and said there was "no point in hiding" the pair's differences.

Douglas Carswell and Mr Farage have clashed over their support for rival Brexit campaigns in the run-up to the June 23 referendum.

The Clacton MP is backing Vote Leave, but recent weeks have seen fellow supporters of the group sacked from Ukip posts by Mr Farage, who is one of the leading figures in the Grassroots Out (GO) Movement.

Mr Carswell praised Suzanne Evans, who has been sacked from two posts in as many weeks - first as deputy chairman and then as welfare spokesman.

He told BBC's Sunday Politics she is "magnificent ... She's so brilliant".

Asked if he was next for the axe, Mr Carswell said "Nigel described me as irrelevant" and added: "I've been called far worse in the five parliamentary elections where I've stood, but the point is in four of those five parliamentary elections I won. Now that's the beauty of democracy isn't it? It's the people who decide who is, who isn't irrelevant."

Mr Carswell repeated the claim - disputed by senior Ukip figures and the GO leadership - that Ukip councillors were backing Vote Leave.

"Four out of every five Ukip councillors across the country has now signed up to Vote Leave," he said. "Vote Leave is now garnering support from the political left, from the political centre right. It is garnering support from people who aren't politicians at all."

Addressing the problems between him and Mr Farage he said: "There's no point in hiding it. There are differences of opinion. He is in favour of signing up to GO, I'm in favour of Vote Leave. And there's a strategic difference as well.

"I think we need to win this referendum with an unrelentingly upbeat optimistic, positive campaign. I'm primarily interested in winning the referendum, not in mobilising the base."