UKIP secure their first Member of Parliament

10 October 2014, Blog

UKIP secure their first Member of Parliament

Nigel Farage promised us a political earthquake and he has certainly delivered. Mr Farage and the UK Independence Party (UKIP) have a lot to be smiling about this morning (and sore heads, if the 4.30am drinking session rumour is true).

Two by-elections took place on Thursday in Essex and the North West which provided UKIP with their first MP and Labour’s heartland rocked by a UKIP surge.

Douglas Carswell has become the first ever elected UKIP MP after securing a majority of 12,404 in Clacton-on-Sea. The by-election was triggered after Mr Carswell defected from the Conservative Party to UKIP. This is a significant gain for UKIP but it would be wrong to assume that the electorate were voting solely for UKIP; many of Clacton’s voters would have voted for Carswell as an individual and not necessarily for the party that he was standing for. Nevertheless, UKIP have gained their first elected Member of Parliament and it prompted a declaration from Farage that they may hold the balance of power come May – watch out Nick Clegg!

In the North of England UKIP made a serious dent in Labour’s majority and finished in second place in the Heywood and Middleton by-election. Farage has described this as an even more significant result for the party than Clacton. This follows substantial gains in Rotherham during May’s Council elections where UKIP are now the second biggest party in typical Labour heartlands. Mr Farage now believes that his party are Labour’s main opposition in the North.

The by-election ultimately saw Labour secure the seat with Liz McInnes elected but Labour’s majority was cut from 6,000 to a very shaky 617 votes. UKIP’s John Bickley came in second place.

A recent national opinion poll from YouGov puts UKIP at 15% with the Liberal Democrats trailing behind on 9%. What came as a major surprise to many were the number of 2010 Liberal Democrat voters who opted to vote for UKIP in this by-election. It is certainly something that both the Labour and Conservative Party must be wary about in the next 7 months.

Analysis

UKIP are here and they appear to be here to stay. Labour and the Conservative Party have thrown everything at Mr Farage and his party but he has secured three huge wins over the last five months, in the European elections, local government elections and these recent by-elections. He has the “big mo” on his side. However, the greatest test for UKIP will come at the General Election in May 2015 and whether Mr Farage himself can head to Westminster.

Furthermore, the Labour Party’s campaign message does not appear to be strong enough and this is yet another bad news story for Mr Miliband. Labour are now behind the Conservative Party in the polls and yesterday’s result in a safe Labour seat could prompt more knives being sharpened if Ed Miliband cannot deliver a Labour Government in May 2015.

With UKIP surging in the polls it remains to be seen whether they will be able to secure enough MPs in 2015 to deliver a substantial amount of influence within Westminster. If Mr Reckless is successful in his by-election in Rochester and Strood and Farage secures South Thanet himself at the General Eleciton, UKIP could well hold the balance of power in a hung Parliament. With the SNP increasingly confident of their ability to challenge Labour strongly in Scotland, it could be that the SNP and UKIP decide who enters Number 10 after the next election…

JBP Staff Member

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