UKIP gains voters from Tories and Labour in British local elections

  
UKIP chief Nigel Farage. University of York, 2009. [Freedom Association/Flickr]

European elections were held in the UK yesterday (22 May) coupled with local council elections in England and Northern Ireland. While publishing results of the European elections is illegal until Sunday night, the results of the local election already show a surge of the anti-EU UKIP in England, at the expense of both the Conservatives and Labour.

UKIP made strong gains in local elections in England, siphoning support from Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservatives as it capitalised on discontent about immigration and mainstream politics.

The gains by the UK Independence Party, which wants Britain to leave the EU, will pile pressure on Cameron to toughen his approach to Europe and alarm some in his party who worry UKIP could scupper the Conservatives' hopes of winning next year's national election.

The strong support for UKIP indicated by early local council results suggests the party could also do well in elections to the European Parliament, also held on Thursday.

If borne out by full results, the outcome of the local elections is a major triumph for fast-talking UKIP leader Nigel Farage, a former commodities trader who has styled himself and his party as an antidote to Britain's three main established parties, whom he accuses of offering the same policies and of ignoring voters' wishes.

Partial results from around a third of English councils on Friday showed UKIP won 89 new seats in local elections.

Labour won 105 new seats, the Conservatives lost 96, and the Liberal Democrats lost 103, according to the early results.

While the opposition Labour gained seats, the result could still spell gloom for the party, which is challenging Cameron's Conservatives in next year's national election. Labour's showing so far raises doubts about its ability to win that vote and could trigger internal discontent about the performance of its leader Ed Miliband.

Farage told reporters he was cheered by the early results and thought they were a good platform to challenge for seats in the 2015 national election.

"Looking at the average vote shares across the country, and without wishing to count any chickens before they're hatched, it looks pretty good," he told reporters.

Often photographed with a pint of beer in his hand and a cigarette in his mouth, Farage's plain-speaking man-of-the-people style has struck a chord with many voters, who he says find more established politicians mealy-mouthed and bland.

"My colleague Winston McKenzie said the UKIP fox was in the Westminster hen house and it does feel a bit like that," he added, referring to the seat of the British parliament.

Farage's rivals said they thought his success was a protest vote that highlighted how concerned voters were, particularly about immigration levels which Cameron has promised but failed to curb.

"I think Nigel Farage, for quite a lot of those people, is just a two fingers stuck up at what they feel is a sort of hectoring, out-of-touch elite," Jeremy Browne, a Liberal Democrat lawmaker, said on BBC TV, referring to an obscene gesture.

'Political earthquake'

The European elections were held on the same day, but the results will not be announced until Sunday evening, in line with the rest of the EU. They will determine the political persuasion of Britain's 73 lawmakers in the 751-seat European Parliament.

Cameron once called UKIP a party of "fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists". But Farage has denied his party is racist and promised to use the European and local elections to trigger a "political earthquake" in Britain.

His party made strong gains in traditional Conservative heartlands in places such as Essex in the southeast of England, and in Labour strongholds such as Rotherham in the north, and Birmingham, in the Midlands.

Cameron has promised to try to reshape Britain's ties with the EU if re-elected next year, and to give Britons an in/out EU membership referendum by the end of 2017. UKIP wants an immediate referendum.

UKIP has floated the idea of forming electoral alliances with Conservative candidates in next year's national election, but a senior Cameron ally on Friday rejected that idea.

"There's been a vote for UKIP and that sends us a very clear message that people have concerns about immigration, about welfare, about schools and skills of course," said Michael Gove, the Conservative education minister.

"We will pay attention to those concerns."

Local elections decide the fate of 4,216 local council seats.

 

Timeline: 
  • 22 May: European elections held in UK and the Netherlands;
  • 23 May: European elections held in Ireland;
  • 24 May: European elections held in Latvia, Malta, Slovakia and the French overseas territories;
  • 25 May: European elections held in most of the EU countries. First results to be announced at 23:00 CET;
  • 27 May: EU leaders meet for extraordinary summit to take stock of the election results.
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Comments

an european's picture

English Racists voted for BREXIT NOW !!
Then Cameron should take it in consideration !
We Europeans are well enough without UK !

Scotland can join us ;-)

evad666's picture

Over many years I have been subject to abuse from the political classes who have used the epithets racist, homophobe, facist etc.
During all this time I have dutifully paid my taxes while supporting wave after wave of foreigners who have been gifted benefits at a level greater than my salary after tax.
I like many others have now had enough.
I wish to see the political classes brought low and taught a severe lesson.

Mike Parr's picture

Utter cock, most "foreigners" in the UK work & pay taxes. Most = 90%+. You do not & never have "supported them".
For the most part these "foreigners" are exploited by UKIP members (there was a case this month - the police raided a company employing 11 illegal immigrants - company owned by .... a UKIP senior member). Farage aka Mr Toad's reaction being the usual blathering bullshit.

As for "racist, homophobe and facist" well if you judge people by the colour of their skin, what they do in bed and prefer dictatorships - you deserve those labels.

an european's picture

I could say the same !
And you think foreigners like other countries don't pay taxes ?

"foreigners who have been gifted benefits at a level greater than my salary"
Who then ! Did they have a Bachelor ? Master ?
Or maybe there is a serious issue about the coordination in your Job administration !
"have been gifted benefits" Do you think they get a salary à vie ? Which benefits gifted?
It's merely a real lack of Westminster job administration ! Your government has failed in your case !

Be glad you're brexitting ...

evad666's picture

The Government paid em benefits greater than our take home pay while mouthing platitudes at their supporters in the working classes. As to their qualifications they were the foot soldiers of the left somalis shipped from the EU to bring us Brits low.

GeorgeMc's picture

No one is blaming anyone on the Continent for immigration levels, which, in certain parts of the country are causing upset, concern and friction. The amount and speed that it has happened at, has changed many of our towns beyond recognition. It has placed public services under severe pressure and left many locals wondering if they still live in the UK. The lost control of our borders and sovereignty lies firmly in the court of successive governments (of all persuasions) and cannot be blamed on the EU.
Nor is it correct for continentals to throw into the mix terms like Nazi and racist, which says more about their inability to think through problems and articulate themselves in a reasoned and mature manner.

Evad666 has expressed a feeling that will be recognised in many parts of the UK and is correct that many of the electorate are more than happy to see the political class getting a good kicking.

evad666's picture

The EU and its Marxist commission are along with supine pro eu politicians here in the UK are to blame. Time now to pull the walls down on the heads of the invaders and the overpaid politburo of the commission.

Mike Parr's picture

More utter cock from evad666 - "marxist commissioners" oh please, they are as "marxist" as Farage is .... left wing.

(evad666 - that would be the number of the beast? - obviously a beast with no brains)

evad666's picture

The EU is more and more taking on the airs and graces of the Court of Louis XVI of France they need to be careful as I sense many would be happy to see its Palaces at Strasbourg and Brussels brought low.

A Londoner's picture

@ an european
I am not sure why you use the term "racist". The serious argument is between those who wish to see the nation states of Europe co-operating via international treaties versus those who wish to see a democratic European state created along federal lines. In both cases there are insiders and outsiders and different ways of identifying foreigners. You want to give certain rights to Europeans but not to "foreigners" i.e non-Europeans; UKIP people want to give certain rights to British people but not to foreigners. I do not understand why your position is morally superior.

an european's picture

No !
The federal prerequisites are first needed (to jail out those who imposed austerity to lose jobs on member-states ) for the euro zone's economy and financial system to RECOVER !
Yes we need an democratic Europe for people where people have an DIRECT choice to elect the E.U. President as Tony Blair said in 2009 !
What you're promoting is an in-equalized economy between member-states by intergovernmentalism !
Intergouvernementalism promoted economic recession which should be out of date after the U.S. Lehmann and house Bubble crash! We don't go below soft-power nor we loose our trade power with the strong currency which logically conclude that some federal rules is needed at least for the Eurozone 18 which means to go a little step forward from Soft to a real power (needn't to be centralized)!
As long as England isn't in the Eurozone what interest do they have ??
England is Brexiting so far ! Fear to loose IT's Superpower against the E.U. ?

Concerning Farage he's BY DEFINITION racist even speechifying air out the anus !
In talking obsessionally against Bulgarian's , Romanian's or even Obama ! Because he said hey how is that Obama has been elected ?!
Because there are .. Then he talks about COLOR !!??
Then his IQ less crapster lies not only about how bad the E.U. is ...
It's logic and mentally sick not to consider Farage with it's UKIP as well it's women's middle-finger show as a racists company !

Finally i don't want my position to be morally superior than others or one foreigner more than other like Ukip is doing !
Seems ethically disgusting if one feels morally superior than others but seems the way to be how everyone is born ...

Gerry's picture

The real problem is that the parliament is filled with a certain elite group that has long lost any connection with the common people and their real needs and wants. This is true whether speaking of the British Parliament or the EU. The EU parliamentarians however are working to fulfill a certain ideology formulated half a century ago, but seems to be blind to the unintended consequences of their approach, and unwilling to change that approach and make the amendments necessary to remedy the situation. The fact is that no matter how noble or lofty the original ideal may have been, nobody wants to see their country overrun by foreigners who just have no connection with one's culture, nobody wants to feel that their own culture and traditions are under threat and Brussels needs to come to terms with these facts. The EU can work but only if the politicians will work for an EU for the people, and not for an EU for what they think the people should be, and think and want.

A Londoner's picture

The EU has always been a project driven by an elite with a suspicion of real democracy. Although the EU has achieved a great deal this does mean that sometimes it is the interests of the elite rather than the people which triumph. For instance, take the single currency . There is a strong argument for suggesting that Germany, Netherlands , Finland & Luxembourg break away from the Euro and form a new stronger currency area. As that currency floated upwards, prices in the remaining euro countries would become cheaper, tourists from Germany etc would flood into Spain, Portugal and Greece creating jobs.

However, whilst that might be good for the people of Europe it would spell the end of the US of Europe and would damage the interests of the elite. It would endanger the existence of the EP and put all those fat salaries and expenses at risk. It would damage the job satisfaction of all those European diplomats who want to be associated with power and who talk about "gaining influence" and being at the "top table".

Unfortunately, there is no and can never be real democracy for the EP. We are separate peoples, with different languages and separate media. There will never be the interaction of parties, candidates, the press and media and the electorate that is necessary for real democracy. It is pseudo-democracy which allows the EU elites to claim legitimacy.

an european's picture

He begin of the US of E hasn't begun so why rushing ??!!
Suspicions ?!! Don't believe it !
Suspicions are merely that more member-states than 18 are going to adopt the Euro !

"We are separate peoples, with different languages and separate "media" "
It's true as well in the U.S. of A. .. or maybe they don't have any culture !
The institution IS THERE ! The question is Either they share the power or not despite cultural differences in which everyone's interests is the job and a powerful single economy and free trade !

El Pluribus Unum

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