Theresa May’s surprise announcement today has caught hacks and MPs alike off guard. While Labour MPs fret over the prospect of a snap election, is there also reason for a newly independent MP to sweat?
Step forward Douglas Carswell. After quitting Ukip last month to stand as an independent, Carswell upset many Kippers by refusing to hold a by-election by which voters could choose between a Ukip candidate and Carswell. None were more bothered than Arron Banks, the Ukip donor, who had hoped to stand against his former foe.
Well, Carswell may be able to prevent a by-election, but he cannot stop a general election. Come June, Carswell will need to contest the seat. Banks’ spokesman tells Steerpike that Banks is ‘a million per cent going for it’ — all that remains to decide is whether he will stand for Ukip or as an independent. With a majority of 3,437, Carswell will have a fight on his hand staving off the threat from the Conservatives, Ukip and Banks.
Let the games begin…