Ukip's leading figures have squared off in a heated row as Nigel Farage has called for the party's only MP to be thrown out.

The former leader of the right-wing party has frequently butted heads with Douglas Carswell since he defected from the Conservatives in 2014, but the latest confrontation appears to be the pair's worst fallout yet.

Farage has accused Carswell of trying to "split and divide Ukip". However, his attack may be influenced by Farage's failed bid for a knighthood, which Carswell is thought to have half-heartedly supported at best.

No evidence has been found to suggest Farage's aspirations were hampered by Carswell, but emails have since been leaked to The Telegraph which show the MP mocked Farage in his failed attempt.

The exchanges were between Carswell and Ukip peer Lord Pearson of Rannoch, who tried to secure an MBE for Farage following the result of the EU referendum.

Once the Cabinet Office's Parliamentary and political service honours committee rejected Farage's bid, Rannoch wrote to Carswell asking him to approach Gavin Williamson, the Government's chief whip, about appealing the decision.

The day the honours were announced – on 31 December – Carswell confirmed he did contact the whip, but went on to make fun of Farage's disappointment.

"Perhaps we might try angling to get Nigel an OBE next time round? For services to headline writers? An MBE, maybe?" Carswell wrote.

Lord Pearson replied an hour later: "Dear Douglas, Let's speak at your convenience. Ring me? Not sure an 'Other Buggers' Efforts' quite hits the spot for Nige........?! Malcolm"

Despite taking part in the jokes, Lord Pearson said the comments showed that it was "pretty clear [that Carswell] did not support" Farage's knighthood aspirations.

However, Carswell insisted the leaked email "confirms that I made every effort to make sure that Ukip got its fair share of peerages and honours".

In a column for the the Telegraph, Farage made no reference to the emails but was explicit in his calls for Carswell to be kicked out.

Farage said: "As a party, how can we let a man represent us in the House of Commons who actively and transparently seeks to damage us?

"I think there is little future for UKIP with him staying inside this party. The time for him to go is now."