Clacton: Landslide victory feels ‘unreal’ says Douglas Carswell as Nigel Farage targets East Anglian seats in May
- Credit: Archant
Newly elected UKIP MP Douglas Carswell has said his landslide win in the Clacton by-election “feels unreal”.
He and party leader Nigel Farage faced a large crowds as they arrived in Clacton town centre yesterday morning and only managed 20ft of a planned walkabout.
The response came after Mr Carswell extended his majority in the constituency to 12,404, polling 21,113 votes to second-placed Conservative candidate Giles Watling who got 8,709.
Speaking to the EADT Mr Carswell said: “I’m tired but happy. It feels a little bit unreal.
“I didn’t realise it had struck such a chord, not just locally but nationally too, and it has terrified people in Westminster. They are panicking, and they have much to panic about.
“I didn’t expect such a result. I thought there was a 50:50 chance we would manage to get more votes than the other candidates when I resigned.
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“About a week ago I thought my chances were significantly better, but I thought maybe four out of ten might support me. I just did not think I would get more than half of the vote.
“But I need a bit of humility. 49% of people did not vote at all, so most people did not vote for me.”
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Looking ahead to the general election he added: “In this race there are two fences. I am still in the saddle after the first, but I know there is another coming up.
“May will be a very different campaign. But I have got six months to show people I am still Douglas.
“There are still good, decent people out there who voted Labour or Conservative who I can provide reassurance to.
“I will prioritise local things and deliver on them. If there is one thing I could wave a magic wand and fix it is the chronic shortage of GPs, that’s my absolute number one.
“There are other things to safeguard in the local NHS, and there is a real problem with knife crime. I cannot force Essex County Council to change its policy on street lights but I can force them to see sense and switch the lights back on in particular areas.”
During yesterday’s walkabout Mr Carswell said he would never be or seek to be leader of UKIP, saying he lacked “the reservoirs of passion” for the role and added it would be “disastrous” for the party if he ever were to become leader.
Speaking outside the Clacton UKIP office Mr Farage told the EADT: “I am really pleased the people of Clacton have voted for Douglas, for his courage and integrity.
“He took a real gamble, but he has got the trust of the people.
“This result means if you vote UKIP you get UKIP. There was a concern a vote for UKIP could be a wasted vote under the first-past-the-post system. Clacton has blown that myth apart.
“It was a fantastic, amazing result, really inspirational, and has made millions of people across the country rather happy.
“This result is transformative. I am not going to make predictions about May, I have not got a clue – I have never seen politics in such a state of flux.
“All eyes on the general election. We are going to be targeting a big number of seats in this region.
“As to where – they speak for themselves, look at the council results. It is not difficult to work out where we will be targeting.”