Douglas Carswell
Carswell branded gutless by Ukip candidate(Reuters)

Amid all the Ukip euphoria over its sensational coup in bringing Douglas Carswell over from the Tories there was one distinctly dissenting voice from the sidelines.

It came from the party's official general election candidate, Roger Lord, who only found himself on the sidelines after the Farage-Carswell bulldozer scooped him up from centre stage and dumped him there.

To say he isn't happy is the understatement of the year. He is livid. Fuming. Well and truly piqued.

Carswell, he declared, was a gutless late-comer taking advantage of all the hard work he and his team had put into nurturing the Clacton constituency for years.

And, just in case anyone failed to get the message, he made it abundantly clear he was not about to roll over and make way for the Tory defector but "keep on fighting".

Speaking from the town a short distance from where the Farage-Carswell bandwagon was in full steam he fumed: "Douglas Carswell could do the decent thing.

"He could come and say hello to me and negotiate with me but he hasn't got the guts to do that. He is 200 yards up the road from me.

Douglas Carswell is not the be all and end all, other people have spent years and years fighting the same battles. He is coming in as a late-comer, he could have joined us years ago but it's in the last five minutes when all the work was done and we are on the cusp of winning this seat.
- Roger Lord

"If he hasn't got the guts to face me then he hasn't got the guts to take on the establishment and he hasn't got the guts to take on Europe."

Asked if he was planning to take Carswell on as an independent candidate he declared: "I am not going to stand as an independent. Carswell has created a vacancy and who knows what will happen, he hasn't thought it through. He had better think about that.

"Douglas Carswell is not the be all and end all, other people have spent years and years fighting the same battles. He is coming in as a late-comer, he could have joined us years ago but it's in the last five minutes when all the work was done and we are on the cusp of winning this seat," he said.

He even suggested Carswell could still stand down.

Understandable range from the ex-Tory who clearly believed that, after losing three general elections in a row as a Ukip candidate, he was finally about to take his place in Westminster at the next one.

But his threats about forcing Ukip to think again about their candidate are, frankly, pointless.

A party spokesman pointed out Lord had never been selected as the by-election candidate.

"Roger Lord is not now, nor has he ever been the by-election candidate for Clacton. The National Executive Committee of the Party have voted to adopt Douglas Carswell as the candidate for the upcoming by-election.

"Roger Lord is mistaken in his belief that he is the candidate and he can best serve the party's and the county's interests by standing behind the decision."

If that sounded like a threat then it almost certainly was. If Lord continues to cut up rough then he might just find himself no longer a Ukip member let alone election candidate.

Nigel Farage appeared a little more forgiving, saying: "Having put in 17 years of good work, Roger is feeling a bit sore." But he promised to find him another winnable seat nearby in Essex.

"I'm going to tell him that a Carswell victory puts the whole of Essex up for grabs and there is a vacancy in a neighbouring constituency - Harwich and North Essex - and if he puts his name down, he does so with my full endorsement," he said.

That sounds like a classic "offer he can't refuse".