Did anti-gay marriage MP Douglas Carswell tread on some UKIP toes already?
Despite announcing his defection from the Tories to UKIP earlier today, Douglas Carswell may have already upset some in his new party by switching sides.
He voted against the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act at its Second and Third Readings last year, and in 2007 voted against protections for sexual orientation in the provision of goods and services, under the Equality Act.
The previous candidate for Clacton, however, said earlier today that he has “no intention” of stepping down for Carswell. 57-year-old Roger Lord made the comments earlier today, before it was clarified that UKIP had officially selected Carswell as its candidate in the by-election.
Lord told BuzzFeed: “If Mr Carswell wants to join us then he can get in the queue and hand out leaflets with the rest of us. Now that I’ve announced my campaign team, which now includes many members of his campaign team, his vote looks to be sinking quite quickly.”
He went on to say that he has been in “dangerous situations” in Pakistan and South America and that he had been threatened by a 16-year-old with a machine gun.
“Until they fire me, shoot me, or blow me out of the party for being a rebel, then I’m here.”
Referring to Carswell’s comments about same-sex marriage, when he said he thought it was “arrogant” of Westminster to seek to allow gay couples to marry, Lord said: “I think it’s rather arrogant of any MP to act like this. We’ve proved we can succeed and take on the establishment. But now the establishment is wanting to join us. Why should we put up with people carpetbagging from somewhere else?
“I joined UKIP in 1997, delivering leaflets, calling public meetings where five people turned up on a cold wet night. I think I’ve got a lot more experience of life than he has. Just because he’s joined doesn’t mean he’s got an automatic ticket. It’s an insult to the electors for politicians to think their votes can be traded.”
According to Breitbart, UKIP’s Party Secretary put an end to speculation over who would be candidate, saying: “Roger Lord is not now, nor has he ever been the by-election candidate for Clacton. The National Executive Committee of the Party have voted to adopt Douglas Carswell as the candidate for the upcoming by-election. Roger Lord is mistaken in his belief that he is the candidate and he can best serve the party’s and the county’s interests by standing behind the decision of the NEC”.
Carswell wrote a letter in 2012, ahead of the introduction of same-sex marriage legislation, to voice his concerns against it.
He wrote: “Although I believe in equal treatment for gay people and believe that all people should be able to live under the same laws, I am opposed to the Government’s proposals. I think there is something a little bit arrogant about ministers supposing that it is for them to redefine communal rules that have existed for centuries.”
The 43-year-old also voted against secondary legislation linked to same-sex marriage.
If he were to win the by-election, he would become the only UKIP MP to currently take a seat in Westminster. He said he wants to “shake up” the Westminster “clique.”
He made the announcement of his defection at a London news conference.