THE country’s first elected UKIP MP has spoken of his joy as the UK prepares to leave the EU.

And after more than three years of political wrangling, Brexit will finally happen at 11pm tonight.

Former Clacton MP Douglas Carswell defected from the Conservatives to the UK Independence Party before calling a by-election in 2014.

His re-election gave a major boost to UKIP, putting pressure on former Prime Minister David Cameron to hold a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU.

“Where Clacton led the country followed,” said Mr Carswell, who stood down as an MP in 2017.

“I’m fairly certain local people in Clacton triggered Brexit and have got us out of the EU.

“I stood for election in 2005, 2010, 2014 and 2015 and every time I stood, I made it clear I wanted us to leave the EU and every time the people of Clacton supported me.”

The UK will stop being a member of the EU tonight but some claim it is not Brexit while the UK abides by EU rules during the transition period, which lasts until the end of 2020.

“I’m overjoyed this is finally happening,” added Mr Carswell.

“There is no question this is what leaving the EU looks like and everything I spent my time in politics campaigning for is going to happen.

“If I sat on the fence and took the easy route, I could have stayed in the House of Commons for another 20 years but I sacrificed all that for this - it’s fantastic.”

Mr Carswell, who has since founded the Centre for Economic Education to educate people on the social value of free-market economics, said leaving the EU would be a boost for the Clacton constituency.

“Everything in Britain has become so regulated over the years - every business and every organisation is smothered in regulation,” he added.

“We need to liberate the economy. I think that would have a huge effect.

“Clacton has done really badly with this economic model, it is forgotten about, being at the end of the line.”

“Too many people in Clacton have to commute out to get work.”

Mr Carswell said he would be celebrating Brexit but did not want to be triumphant.

He said: “My daughter, out of her own pocket money, bought a jar of Nutella and we were going to open it to celebrate Brexit.

“But every time we got close to opening it Theresa May’s deal was rejected.

“The jar is still just about before its best before date, so we will have it for breakfast on Saturday.

"I’ll eat more of it than I’ve ever had in my life,” he joked.

Frinton Lawn Tennis Club will be hosting a Brexit Party/Wake fish supper this evening which is completely sold out.

Club chairman and Talk Radio presenter James Max said: "We're well aware some members voted to leave and some to remain but, whatever you think, it's an important moment in British history and we want to mark it in a fun way by doing a non-pejorative event where all members are welcome."