Douglas Carswell to continue dining alone in the House of Commons

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After UKIP leader Paul Nuttall lost the Stoke by-election, sources confirmed that Douglas Carswell would be forced to continue sitting on his own when eating at work.

As the inevitable post-mortems begin into what went wrong for UKIP’s Paul Nuttall in his defeat by Labour in the Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election, House of Commons catering staff have been told to keep Carswell’s standing reservation of ‘table for one’.

Although Carswell’s hopes for mealtime company must have been tempered by a sense of realism that Nuttall is a lying sociopath, UKIP’s sole MP admits that he had continued to entertain the small possibility right up until hearing the returning officer’s announcement on Friday morning.

“Paul Nuttall wouldn’t normally be my first choice of dinner companion,” Carswell told reporters.

“I’m not even completely confident he’d know when it was appropriate to use a side plate, but I could have given him a few etiquette pointers: ‘Tilt your soup bowl away from you’, ‘don’t yell racial slurs at the service staff’ – that sort of thing.

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“It just would have been nice to have someone to talk to for a change.”

A Westminster insider claims he saw Mr Carswell sadly remove a ‘Reserved’ notice from the chair next to his own in the Commons’ dining room.

“He needn’t have bothered,” added the anonymous source, “Nobody would have sat there anyway.”