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The first shock of the election campaign as Clacton MP says he's stepping down

Day one of the election campaign's seen the first shock announcement with Douglas Carswell announcing he's quitting his job as Clacton MP.

Always a colourful politician Mr Carswell made headlines in 2014 when he defected from the Conservatives to Ukip going on to become their only elected MP.

It was never a happy marriage though and last month he left UKIP to become an independent MP. Watch a report by ITV News Anglia's Hannah Pettifer.

Labour MPs set off on the campaign trail in Luton

John McDonnell campaigning with Kelvin Hopkins (right) in Luton Credit: ITV News Anglia

Labour's Luton North MP Kelvin Hopkins has been joined on the election campaign trail by Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell.

During a visit to the Lewsey Community Centre, the MPs met with Labour supporters.

Labour supporters at Lewsey Community Centre, Luton Credit: ITV News Anglia

'It's time for me to move on' Douglas Carswell on decision not to stand for re-election

Douglas Carswell recently left Ukip to become an Independent Credit: PA

Former Ukip MP Douglas Carswell will not stand in next month's General Election.

Mr Carswell said he would be voting Conservative on June 8 but has decided that "it is time for me to move on to other things".

The Clacton MP sensationally defected from the Tories to Ukip in 2014 and became the eurosceptic party's first elected MP in a subsequent by-election.

But he fell out spectacularly with then leader Nigel Farage and quit Ukip earlier this year to sit as an independent.

He was facing a potential challenge in the upcoming election from millionaire businessman and former Ukip funder Arron Banks, who accused him of deliberately undermining the party and Mr Farage.

He had a solid 12,000 majority as a Conservative in the 2010 election, holding the seat by almost 3,500 votes for Ukip in 2015.

Douglas Carswell and Nigel Farage in 2015 Credit: PA
  • 2010 elected as MP for Clacton
  • 2014 - He defected from the Tories to Ukip becoming their first elected MP
  • 2017 - Left Ukip to become an Independent

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Clacton MP Douglas Carswell won't stand for re-election

Douglas Carswell recently left Ukip to become an Independent Credit: PA

The MP for Clacton Douglas Carswell has announced he won't be seeking re-election on June 8th saying he has never felt 'more proud and honoured' than when representing his Essex constituents.

Read his full statement below:

"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."

– Douglas Carswell MP, Clacton, Independent

Norwich MP votes against snap General Election

Clive Lewis MP, Norwich South, Lab Credit: ITV News Anglia

The Norwich South MP Clive Lewis is among thirteen MPs who have voted against a snap General Election in June.

It emerged that the Labour politician had been forced to cancel his honeymoon which was due to take place after his wedding on 6th May, because of the need to campaign.

While having to move the honeymoon was "really sad", he said he opposed an early vote to "embarrass" Mrs May for lying to the British people about the prospect of a snap poll and because she had called it out of political convenience.

522
Ayes

But MPs voted in the House of Commons overwhelmingly for the election which will now go ahead on June 8th as planned.

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Noes

Norwich South MP cancels his honeymoon because of General Election clash

Clive Lewis MP, Norwich South, Lab Credit: ITV News Anglia

An early casualty of the pending election is the forthcoming marriage of Norwich South MP Clive Lewis, which was also scheduled for May.

Mr Lewis says he's had to cancel his honeymoon as he fights to retain one of Labour's few seats in the east, which he won with a majority of 7,500 at the last election.

"Obviously this election's been called, I was getting married on May 6th and my honeymoon is out of the window. It's only a week away in the UK, yeah it's thrown a bit of a clanger in the works."

– Clive Lewis MP, Norwich South, Lab

Essex election candidate Arron Banks: 'I know nothing about Clacton'

Arron Banks Credit: PA

Former Ukip donor Arron Banks has admitted he knows "nothing at all" about the Essex constituency where he hopes to become MP in the June 8 general election.

The millionaire businessman, who bankrolled the Leave.EU campaign in last year's Brexit referendum, has said he will challenge former Ukip MP Douglas Carswell in Clacton.

He promised to run a "positive" campaign and said he would take no salary and serve for only one term if elected. But he told BBC Radio Essex he only knew the town from a "fabulous day out" during the referendum campaign and as a hotbed of euroscepticism.

Asked what he knew about Clacton, Bristol-based Mr Banks said: "Not a great deal, but we are down there on Monday. I went there during the referendum and had a fabulous day out and I think we are looking forward to getting to know people down there.

"I know nothing about Clacton at all, apart from the fact that it is one of the strongest supporting areas for euroscepticism. I have got a reputation for just saying it as it is. My plan is to go down to Clacton, see what the issues are and then we will start to campaign."

Mr Banks is no longer a member of Ukip and it was unclear what banner he will stand under or whether the eurosceptic party would put up a candidate against him.

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