Ukip quitter Douglas Carswell 'not planning' on rejoining Conservatives as MP

Former Ukip MP Douglas Carswell has told ITV's Peston On Sunday he is not "planning" on fighting the next election as a Conservative - though refused to rule it out categorically.

The Clacton-on-Sea MP said he wanted to "support" the government as a "critical friend" in his role as an independent in the Commons.

He spoke as Ukip leader Paul Nuttall criticised him as a "staunch Tory" in a newspaper article in which he welcomed the resignation of the party's only MP.

"I'm not planning on rejoining the Conservative Party," Mr Carswell told Robert Peston when asked if he could categorically confirm he would not rejoin the party he left in 2014.

He added that he did not believe he had "any sort of entitlement" to the seat.

Mr Carswell, who resigned from Ukip on Saturday, confirmed a meeting had been scheduled by Ukip to discuss his recent actions but denied he jumped before he pushed.

The planned meeting with Ukip's national executive on Monday was set to examine if he played a role in blocking a knighthood for former leader Nigel Farage.

Mr Carswell went on to criticise his former party as he said "fundamental political change" was needed in the way political parties operate.

"I had hoped Ukip would be the vehicle for change," he said. "I'm afraid to say I don't think it is. It's a mini-me version of all the big established parties and all their mistakes."

Asked how he would respond if Clacton Conservatives invited him to represent them, he said: "Right now, thanks but no thanks."

He added: "I want to support the government but I want to support them as a critical friend."