Douglas Carswell and Nigel Farage
Ukip's only MP wants Farage to quit but who would replace the Eurosceptic firebrand? Getty

Ukip's leader and its only MP are rowing in public again. This time Douglas Carswell fired the first salvo, calling for a "fresh face" at the top of the anti-mass immigration party. The Clacton MP didn't name Nigel Farage but it was abundantly clear from his BBC interview that he wanted the Eurosceptic firebrand to go.

The former Tory taunted Farage's post-Oldham West by-election outrage, accusing him of blaming the electorate after the Ukip leader said that the postal ballot vote system had been tampered with to help Labour's Jim McMahon.

"Let's not do what we did the day after the Oldham by-election and blame the voter, let's not pretend it's all due to postal ballots. You know they had postal ballots here in Clacton too and I don't remember anyone blaming postal ballots then," Carswell said.

"If you are in the business of doing democracy for a living you need to accept the democratic verdict, and the punter didn't take what we had to offer."

The latest battle between the Ukip heavyweights is part of a long-running civil war in the party. Farage backed Arron Banks in September after the Ukip donor fell out with Carswell over the EU referendum. Banks had founded the Leave.EU campaign but the Clacton MP had decided to join its Brexit rival Vote Leave.

If you are in the business of doing democracy for a living you need to accept the democratic verdict, and the punter didn't take what we had to offer.
- Douglas Carswell

A lively debate, to put it mildly, between the pair took place during Ukip's conference at Doncaster Racecourse, with the drama overshadowing the whole event. Not least because Banks called Carswell "borderline autistic with mental illness wrapped in".

Carswell also fell out with Farage over how much short money (public cash for opposition parties in the House of Commons) Ukip would accept after the general election. And the Clacton MP urged Farage to "take a break" after the Ukip leader's sensational un-resignation.

In short, the 51-year-old offered to resign from the top job in the wake of the party's election results, which saw Farage fail to win the South Thanet seat. But Ukip's ruling body – the National Executive Committee – rejected the offer.

Carswell only joined Ukip in August 2014 when he defected from the Conservatives and triggered a by-election. His run-ins with Farage are well-documented, but the 44-year-old has ruled out a leadership bid. Who, therefore, could be Carswell's so-called "fresh face"?

Suzanne Evans

Suzanne Evans
Suzanne Evans Getty

Evans is a familiar face to Westminster watchers. The Ukip deputy chairman is a regular on the likes of the BBC and Sky News and most recently outlined the case for a Brexit on the Victoria Derbyshire show. The right-winger also won plaudits for putting together Ukip's full-costed general election manifesto.

But Evans was one of the high-profile causalities of bitter in-fighting at the top of the party after May. She stood down as Ukip's policy chief amid rumours of a "plotters' purge", which saw her ally Patrick O'Flynn axed as the party's economic spokesman after he spoke out against Farage.

Since then Evans has been beaten by Peter Whittle to become Ukip's Mayor of London candidate and joined Carswell in allying herself with the Vote Leave camp. With Ukip sometimes being accused of macho-man politics, could Evans provide a more inclusive tone at the top of the party?

Mark Reckless

Mark Reckless
Mark Reckless Reuters

Reckless has publicly kept schtum throughout Ukip's in-fighting and the former Rochester and Strood MP, who followed in Carswell's footsteps and defected from the Tories to Ukip in 2014, has certainly benefited from keeping a low profile.

The 45-year-old is now Ukip's economics spokesman and policy chief, a role that has seen Reckless steer the party to the left in a bid to win over former Labour voters from white working class backgrounds.

But beyond the nitty-gritty of policy proposals, Reckless lacks the rhetorical power of Farage. If the numbers man is to succeed the anti-EU dogmatist, he will have to tweak his accountant-like demeanour.

Paul Nuttall

Paul Nuttall
Paul Nuttall Getty

Ukip's very own Northern Powerhouse currently serves as the party's deputy leader and the Merseyside man could not be accused of being a boring orator.

Nuttall, like Evans, is a regular commentator on TV and radio and has appeared on the BBC's flagship debate show Question Time Crucially, Nuttall avoided Ukip's post-election civil war and has been a member for more than a decade, signing up in 2004.

Next Ukip leader odds via William Hill:

Suzanne Evans: 11/8

Mark Reckless: 8/1

Paul Nuttall: 8/1