As well as saying his decision is regrettable and counterproductive, the other Tory response to this morning’s shock defection by Douglas Carswell is to point people to instances where Carswell has said that only David Cameron as Prime Minister in 2017 will guarantee a referendum.

In April, he wrote on his Telegraph blog:

‘In order to exit the EU, we need David Cameron to be Prime Minister in 2017 – the year when we will get the In/Out referendum, our chance to vote to leave the EU.’

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Suggesting he is inconsistent is at least a little more nuanced than smearing him as a ‘headbanger’. But what Carswell’s defection today tells us is that he doesn’t actually think that referendum will be worth it anyway. He has clearly decided that Cameron is going to squander the opportunity to reform that a referendum presents. And that is a serious charge.

Tags: Conservatives, David Cameron, EU referendum, UK politics, UKIP