UK & World News

  • 26 May 2014, 14:18

European Elections: UKIP Tops British Polls

Nigel Farage has pledged to take seats in Westminster after a historic triumph over the main parties in the European elections.

The party topped the European polls in the UK, leaving the Labour Party vying with the Conservatives for second place and the Lib Dems all but wiped out.

Mr Farage has hailed his party's first win in a national election - taking 24 MEP seats - as an "earthquake" in British politics and said: "UKIP is going to win seats in the elections next year."

Coming a year ahead of the General Election, it is the first time a party other than the Conservatives or Labour has topped a nationwide poll in 108 years.

The Lib Dems lost all but one of its 11 MEPs, with the party coming in fifth place after the Greens, leading to serious questions over the survival of the party's leader, Nick Clegg.

The Prime Minister told Sky News he understood voters were deeply disillusioned with the EU and said: "The message on Europe I absolutely receive and understand." He ruled out any pact with UKIP and said the Conservatives were ready to "renegotiate Britain's place in Europe".

Mr Farage, whose party also won a seat in Scotland, said: "The implications for Nick Clegg are very serious indeed, the implications for Ed Miliband and very serious indeed and for David Cameron, perhaps not quite as bad but that debate, that split within the party is going to continue."

He said he was looking at seats for the party to target and would be assembling a team of spokesmen on issues such as defence to make sure the party was no longer seen as a "one man band".

In his speech after topping the poll in the South East, Mr Farage pledged: "You have not heard the last of us" and added: "We will see you in Westminster".

With only Northern Ireland's results yet to come in of the 12 UK regions, UKIP has 29.1% of the vote, Labour 25.4%, the Conservatives 24.6%, the Greens 7.9% and the Lib Dems 6.9%. There was a turnout of 36%.

UKIP is among a host of Eurosceptic parties across the continent looking set to make major gains as voters express anger at the financial crisis that crippled many countries in the 28-member bloc.

Ed Miliband congratulated Mr Farage on his win but said his own party's performance in the local elections and triumph over the Tories in the European elections showed "progress".

After criticism for a "lacklustre" campaign, he said: "I think we did well for a party which in 2010 got one of its worst shares of the vote ever in national elections."

Former prime minister Tony Blair said: "We should be worried when a party like UKIP comes first in the European elections."

Mr Clegg was coming under increasing pressure over his leadership, with some in the party calling for him to go.

But senior Liberal Democrats insisted he was "going nowhere".

BNP leader Nick Griffin failed to be re-elected as an MEP in the North West, telling Sky News: "We'll be back."

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