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Britain's first Ukip MP has been sworn in - and he looks pretty happy about it

Douglas Carswell defected from Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservatives and was re-elected in his old seat.

Britain UKIP Source: AP/Press Association Images

THE FIRST ELECTED lawmaker for Britain’s anti-EU UK Independence Party was sworn in at the House of Commons Monday, watched by party leader Nigel Farage.

Douglas Carswell defected from Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservatives but was re-elected in his old seat of Clacton, southeast England, last week with a majority of over 12,000.

Watching from a gallery, Farage grinned broadly as Carswell was sworn in amid silence in the Commons, promising to be “faithful to her majesty Queen Elizabeth, her heirs and successors, according to law, so help me God”.

Carswell later took his seat on the other side of the chamber to his former Conservative colleagues, among members of the main opposition Labour party.

As he arrived at parliament in pouring rain to represent his new party for the first time earlier, Carswell was on cheerful form, posing in front of the Big Ben clock tower with his thumbs up.

Douglas Carswell first day as Ukip MP More thumbs-up from Carswell. Source: PA Wire/Press Association Images

“I’m reinvigorated. Democracy works… I think change is coming — people in the country feel let down by the two-party system,” he said.

Meanwhile, Farage was asked by journalists if Carswell’s swearing in felt like an emotional moment for the party. “It does. I think it is a moment,” he said.

But some Conservative lawmakers seemed uneasy at Farage’s presence in the Commons, even though he could join their number if he wins the seat he is standing for at next year’s general election.

Conservative MP, Michael Fabricant, joked on Twitter:

The rise of UKIP, which emerged as victors in Britain in May’s European elections, has sent jitters through Cameron’s centre-right Conservatives as it threatens to split the right-wing vote at the 2015 general election.

The party once dismissed by the prime minister as “fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists” wants Britain to leave the European Union and to severely restrict immigration, capitalising on increasing disenchantment with Westminster’s main political parties.

Carswell’s win came on the same day as UKIP narrowly lost out on a shock victory in a second seat, Heywood and Middleton in northwest England, traditionally a stronghold of the main opposition Labour party.

A second former Conservative MP, Mark Reckless, has also defected to UKIP and a by-election in his seat of Rochester and Strood, southeast England, is expected to be held next month.

© AFP 2014

Bad day for Cameron: Minister quits over ‘explicit photos’ and MP defects to UKIP >

Previously: A Tory MP has defected to UKIP and resigned his seat in parliament >

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