Douglas Carswell failed to escape expenses scandal which rocked parliament by claiming hundreds for a 'love seat'
Douglas Carswell implicated in expenses scandal which rocked parliament by claiming hundreds for a 'love seat'Reuters

Douglas Carswell has joined ranks with Ukip against 'politics as usual', but the Tory defector was himself embroiled in the expenses scandal which engendered so much public outrage towards MPs five years ago.

Carswell's own expenses claims were dragged into the spotlight, with attention focused on a super-sized 'Maximus love seat' the Tory MP bought using taxpayers' money.

Described as a 'deep moss brushed cotton' furnishing, the £655 chair caused a minor furore and was not good for the image of Carswell as a 'stand-up guy' who opposes what he perceives as the cosy, elitist cliques in charge of politics.

Explaining the purchase in 2009, he told the Telegraph: "I bought the love seat and bed when moving into the home with my future wife. We have since got married and have had our first baby."

He also flipped his second home by claiming it was his principle residence for a period of time, according to the Telegraph.

'Flipping', as it is known, was a hot issue with voters because it enabled MPs to avoid capital gains tax on a sale of the property.

Carswell, who champions a system of 'direct democracy' which enables voters to expel errant MPs, has also faced questions over a raft of inexpensive items he has bought, including a washing line.

The Clacton MP - who represented the constituency of nearby Harwich when the expenses scandal broke - claimed more than £3,000 for furniture and around £700 for bedding. The taxpayer also paid for £853 in white goods, and even a bin.

Away from the expenses scandal, which besmirched politicians of all parties, Carswell has made a name for himself as a free-thinking MP who stands up for constituents. He even chased down a mugger earlier this year in his constituency.

Carswell pursued a shoplifter along the street and apprehended the suspect. He recounted: "I heard someone shout and saw someone trying to run away. There was a store detective shouting at them. I collared him literally. When I was chasing him I caught a glimpse of a Lacoste logo from items falling out of his pockets."

Now Carswell is hoping voters in the seaside constituency do not flee from him when he stands for Ukip at an up-coming by-election.