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LONDON — Douglas Carswell, the MP who became an independent politician when he defected from UKIP in March, will not seek re-election in June, he announced on Thursday.
Carswell said in a statement on his website that he would be standing down at the snap general election which Prime Minister Theresa May has called on June 8.
He said that he would be offering his “full support” to the Conservative candidate.
Carswell, a vocal supporter of Brexit, was a Conservative MP for Harwich in 2005 and Clacton in 2010.
He defected to UKIP in 2014, but admitted last year that he had done so “with the express goal of changing the image of UKIP and ensuring that it was an asset rather than a liability” in the EU referendum campaign.
He then announced that he was quitting the party in March to become an independent MP, prompting rumours that he would run again as a Conservative candidate.
However, Carswell said that he had been an MP for nearly half his adult life, and added: “Job done.”
“I have never felt more proud and honoured than when representing my Essex constituents in the House of Commons.”
“Over the past twelve years I have had great fun working with, and getting to know, many wonderful local people. Together, we ran all sorts of local campaigns, from safeguarding local services to getting a new seafront. Local has always come first.”
“As I promised in my maiden speech, I have done everything possible to ensure we got, and won, a referendum to leave the European Union — even changing parties and triggering a by-election to help nudge things along. Last summer, we won that referendum. Britain is going to become a sovereign country again.
“I have decided that I will not now be seeking re-election. I intend to vote Conservative on June 8th and will be offering my full support to whoever the Clacton Constituency Conservatives select as their candidate.
“It is sometimes said that all political careers end in failure. It doesn’t feel like that to me today. I have stood for Parliament five times, won four times, and helped win the referendum last June. Job done. I’m delighted.
“Having been an MP for about half my adult life, I believe that it is time for me to move on to other things. I look forward to being able to read newspapers without appearing in them.
“It has been the highest honour to have represented Clacton in the House of Commons.”
Former UKIP bankroller Arron Banks, who has fallen out with the current leadership of the party, has confirmed that he will be running as a candidate in Clacton.
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