UKIP MP prepares leadership bid with pro-immigration speech

There may be trouble ahead: Douglas Carswell (left) is preparing a bid for the leadership of UKIP, with a speech arguing the benefits of immigration!


Douglas Carswell, the former Tory MP who defected to UKIP last year and easily won re-election under his new party label at the Clacton by-election, has long been known for his ultra-liberal views on immigration.

While most UKIP voters believe the party is anti-immigration, Carswell is in the classical liberal tradition.  He believes in a far less regulated form of capitalism, with a much smaller role for the state and a reduced, semi-privatised National Health Service.

In Carswell’s world-view, immigrants are beneficial because they allow international business to move labour around just as they move capital.  An influx of immigrants into the labour market allows employers to pay lower wages, whether for skilled, semi-skilled or unskilled workers.

So it was no surprise to see Douglas Carswell write a pro-immigration article for yesterday’s Times, and then speak last night to a left-wing think tank on a pro-immigration theme.

In his speech last night, Carswell spelled out his colour-blind approach, which amounts to favouring non-white immigrants over Europeans:

“Perhaps the greatest failing of the immigration system is that it discriminates against precisely the sort of people that, in a world of increasing labour mobility, we might actually want to attract.

“Since 400 million EU citizens have a right to come, lowering immigration numbers means making it harder for non-EU people to enter the UK.  Thus do we prioritise an EU citizen with a criminal record over someone with a doctorate from India or Singapore. It makes no sense.”

While endorsing Enoch Powell’s pro-market ideology, Carswell denounced Powell’s most famous speech, his April 1968 warning against the consequences of non-white immigration:

“Britain today is more at ease with the multi-ethnic society that we have become than once seemed imaginable – and not just to Enoch Powell.  Like many before and since, Powell underestimated the ability of a free society to adapt.”

Toby Young of the Daily Telegraph is among several commentators who believe that Carswell is preparing a leadership bid to challenge Nigel Farage after the general election  especially if (as is quite possible) Carswell retains his Clacton seat but Farage fails to be elected MP for South Thanet.


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