Ukip is embroiled in an almighty row about money. It suddenly has too much of it, apparently. Guido reports that Douglas Carswell is refusing to take the full £650,000 of Short money that his party is entitled to for running a parliamentary operation that represents the four million votes the party won in the election. Ukip HQ are insisting he should have it, while Carswell is insisting they only take £350,000.
HQ sources have been handing out some pretty heavy briefings about Carswell refusing to represent the party’s four million voters. Given the Clacton MP has always operated in a rather detached manner within the party and could easily hold his seat as an independent, it could be that this is the row that sees him leave the party, either of his own accord or because he is pushed.
This would mean we’d have another Clacton by-election, possibly with a Ukip candidate — Farage, maybe? — standing against Carswell.
Of course, the party may be able to de-escalate the row, but it currently doesn’t seem all that keen to.
UPDATE, 5.30: A Ukip source says ‘we are not minded to say anything. There will be further meetings’.
Nigel Farage says he will make an eighth attempt to gain a seat in Parliament when the “right by-election seat” comes up.
— LBC Breaking (@lbcbreaking) May 12, 2015
Update, 5.55: I’ve spoken to Carswell, who says:
‘I’m not an American senator and not even an American senator would have 15 staff and a parliamentary office that spends £650,000 on staff. I am sure that common sense will prevail.’