Douglas Carswell becomes UKIP’s first elected MP
UKIP’s Douglas Carswell has become the party’s first elected MP, following the Clacton by-election.
The by-election in the Essex town was triggered last month by the defection of former Tory MP Mr Carswell, who voted against same-sex marriage last year, describing the law as “arrogant”.
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.”
In 2007, Mr Carswell also voted against protections for sexual orientation in the provision of goods and services, under the Equality Act.
He won a seat today with 21,113 votes – well ahead of second place Tory candidate Giles Watling on 8,709 votes. Mr Carswell is the party’s first elected MP. In April 2008, former Castle Point MP Bob Spink defected from the Conservatives to UKIP but later reclassified himself as an independent. In 2010, he stood as an ‘Independent Save Our Green Belt’ candidate but lost to the Conservative’s Rebecca Harris.
Earlier this week, UKIP defended former Christian Peoples Alliance leader Alan Craig, who is notorious for his extreme anti-gay views.
Mr Craig, an ex-councillor for the London Borough of Newham, was nominated for Stonewall’s ‘Bigot of the Year’ award in 2012.
On Tuesday, a UKIP spokesman described the term as an “ugly phrase” – but added that the party would not “discriminate against hard core Christians”.
The spokesman also said the party was unaware of Mr Craig’s application but that it would be dealt with accordingly.
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