U.K. Independence Party Loses Its Only Member of Parliament

  • He will still be a member of parliament as an independent
  • Carswell had defected to UKIP from the Conservatives in 2014

Douglas Carswell, the only member of anti-European Union U.K. Independence Party in the House of Commons, said Saturday he is resigning from the organization.

He will keep his seat in the Parliament as an independent, he said in a statement on his website. Carswell had defected to UKIP from the ruling Conservative Party in 2014 “because I desperately wanted us to leave the EU,” he said.

“We have achieved what we were established to do -- and in doing so we have changed the course of our country’s history for the better,” he said. “I will leave UKIP amicably, cheerfully and in the knowledge that we won.”

Carswell, 45, was last year criticized by UKIP’s former leader Nigel Farage, one of the most influential figures in the “Leave” camp leading up to the June referendum on Brexit, for opposing much of UKIP’s policies. Farage quit his position following the U.K. referendum, triggering divisions within the party.

Farage’s successor, Paul Nuttall, said Carswell was never a “comfortable Ukipper,” and the resignation “will make no difference” in the party’s goals.

“As we redefine our mission and take up the next phase of our campaign to rebuild a confident, independent nation,” Nuttall said, “Douglas would have been increasingly out of kilter with our members’ aspirations. ”

Carswell announced his resignation just as Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday is set to trigger Article 50, starting a two-year process that will lead to Britain’s withdrawal from the EU.

“Like many of you, I switched to UKIP because I desperately wanted us to leave the EU,” Carswell wrote. “Now we can be certain that that is going to happen, I have decided that I will be leaving UKIP.”

Carswell was one of two euro-skeptic Tories to switch to UKIP in 2014. Both won by-elections as UKIP candidates, but while Carswell retained his seat in eastern England in the 2015 general election, the other, Mark Reckless, was defeated by a Conservative.

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