Ukip is well placed to replace Labour as the natural party of the north, its only MP has said.
Douglas Carswell told the BBC Sunday Politics programme the party’s success in winning more than 100 second place finishes at the general election showed where its future was.
The Clacton MP said he believed Ukip’s future was in “radical popular capitalism”.
He said: “Ukip’s future lies in replacing a corporatist Labour Party. It is significant we came second in 120 seats, many of those seats in the north of England.
“The disaffection people in Scotland clearly feel towards the Labour Party doesn’t stop at the border. It continues all the way down into the old Labour heartland.
“I think there is a tremendous future for Ukip in displacing the Labour Party with a sort of radical popular capitalism. You are not going to get any real alternative from the remains of Keir Hardie’s party.
“I’m convinced as a free marketer there is a case for the free market, the case for popular capitalism, has never been easier to make - the problem is the corporatist system we have in this country is giving capitalism a bad name.
“There is a huge space in the political ecology for a genuine radical, populist free market alternative that is not in cahoots with big business and corporatism.”
Mr Carswell ruled himself out of the race for Ukip leader, insisting there were “a least half a dozen” better candidates.
And he backed the prospect of Nigel Farage running in the race and returning to the helm after a summer sabbatical.
Mr Carswell said: “I think Nigel has earned the right to have a bit of time. The 50,000 of us in the party need to reflect, we are not a one man show.
“I think we need to listen to what the other candidates have to say in terms of tone and style and I think we need to take a considered decision in September.”