UK & World News

  • 24 May 2014, 19:06

Parties Reel From UKIP Election Success

UKIP's haul of seats in the council elections is up to 184 with the main parties now mulling the prospect of four-party politics in next year's general election.

Nigel Farage has said his anti-EU party is a "serious player" for 2015 after they added 167 councillors at the expense of the Tories, Labour and Liberal Democrats.

UKIP made gains in traditional Labour and Conservative heartlands, including strong showings in Rotherham - where it returned 10 out of 21 councillors.

It also got a big thumbs thumbs up from 'Essex Man' with a strong showing in areas such as Thurrock, Castle Point and Basildon.

However, it still does not have overall control of any council, and fared particularly poorly in London

Mr Farage told the leaders of the main parties he would "see them in Westminster" and said the results showed UKIP had the potential to cause an "earthquake" at the general election.

"The UKIP fox is in the Westminster henhouse," he claimed.

"If voters think we are in with a chance of winning next year, then we are."

Sky News projections suggest UKIP would only return one MP next year - its first, but the possibility of it building momentum and wooing more voters over the next year is a major headache for party leaders.

The Prime Minister conceded the Conservatives had to start delivering on immigration and welfare reform, and said the public had become "frustrated" with the status quo.

Critics have also rounded on Labour leader Ed Miliband, saying he failed to mount a serious campaign to tackle UKIP and pointing to a series of PR blunders in the run up to polling day.

Mr Miliband, who has promised to help families cut living costs through policies such as freezing energy prices, was accused of being out of touch when he underestimated the cost of a weekly food shop.

Labour's election was far from a disaster - it gained control of five more councils in the election - but the gains are thought to be some way from the shot in the arm the party needs to head towards an overall majority in 2015.

Another hung parliament could be on the cards if voters go the same way in 2015, with Sky projections pointing towards Labour falling short by 18 MPs.

The Liberal Democrats also had a dismal election night as voters ensured Nick Clegg's party lost control of councils in Kingston-Upon-Thames and Portsmouth.

Mr Clegg admitted the party had done badly but said: "Actually I think in the areas where we have MPs where we have good organisation on the ground ... we are actually doing well."

With 159 or 161 councils now declared, Labour have won 3,999 seats, giving it control of 81 councils - an increase of five.

The Conservatives have 2,679 seats overall, controlling 41 councils - down 13; and the Liberal Democrats picked up 882 seats, seeing the number of councils under their control falling from eight to six.

The focus now moves to Sunday night when the count will come in for the European election.

:: Follow all the results as they come in on Twitter with @skyelections.

Advertisement