Douglas Carswell must stay in Ukip, says senior ruling member.
- Credit: PA
One of the UK Independence Party's ruling executive has said he hopes Douglas Carswell will stay in the party after a new leader is selected on Monday.
Toby Coke, who is one of the party's National Executive Committee, has praised Ukip's only MP in Westminster after months of infighting after he publicly fell out with stand-in leader Nigel Farage and his ally, the millionaire donor Aaron Banks.
In an interview this week, Mr Carswell - the MP for Clacton who was a graduate of the University of East Anglia - did not rule out a return to the Conservatives - although he made it clear he did not want to trigger a by-election.
But Mr Coke said: 'I have a great deal of time for Douglas Carswell. I have a huge amount of time for him and I think he has been treated appallingly by people.'
Mr Carswell and Mr Farage reportedly fell out over how the money from taxpayers, given to political parties represented in Westminster, should be spent after the 2015 general election. Mr Coke backed Mr Carswell in the row saying he had been ' quite right to stick to him guns'.
'He has the support of me and many others. I very much hope Douglas stays and I am sure he will once the dust settles.'
Mr Coke has openly criticised Mr Farage and Mr Banks' idea of a new movement, inspired by Italy's populist Five Star Movement, which would allow citizens to propose their own laws and veto the schemes of the politicians,
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'I know Nigel is keen on this mass movement, but I am not sure it would work in my view,' said Mr Coke.
Mr Coke also moved to play down suggestions from the president-elect of the United States that Mr Farage should be made the British ambassador in Washington.
He pointed out that Mr Farage had 'quite rightly' criticised Barack Obama for his intervention during the European Union referendum.
'Now he is saying Trump should dictate who should be the British ambassador to Washington. It is up to the government to appoint the ambassador,' he added.
Mr Coke, the leader of the UKIP group on Norfolk County Council, said he hoped MEP Paul Nuttall would be victorious when the latest leadership results are announced on Monday.
Diane James - who won a summer leadership contest - resigned 18 days after winning the election and recently announced she was leaving the party.
'Going forward from here, UKIP in the last few months since the referendum has had a pretty patchy sort of performance and a lot of people have fallen by the wayside and I don't think they are any loss at all. In fact I think it is a very good thing,' Mr Coke added.