UKIP makes big gains in English local election

May 3, 2013 at 3:10 PM
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LONDON, May 3 (UPI) -- Nigel Farage, leader of the euro-skeptic United Kingdom Independence Party, said Friday the party's showing in English local elections is a "shockwave."

A BBC analysis of results from Thursday's vote found the party averaged 25 percent of the vote in areas where it had candidates, The Guardian reported. While that was not enough to win UKIP control of any local councils, it appeared to have won at least 140 seats.

The "projected national share" of the vote calculated by the BBC suggested Thursday's results would have translated into a 29 percent share for Labor in a general election, 25 percent for the Conservatives.

Labor won about 29 percent of the vote, the Conservatives 25 percent and 23 percent for UKIP and only 14 percent for the old "third party," the Liberal Democrats.

UKIP, which held a handful of local council seats going into the election, had the biggest advance of any fourth party since World War II, the Guardian said.

"We've been abused by everybody, attacked by the entire establishment who did their best to stop ordinary decent people from going out and voting UKIP, and they have done in big, big numbers," Farage said. "At the end of today we are going to have a fair tally and it sends a shockwave through the establishment."

Labor appeared to have regained some of the ground it lost in the last local election in 2009, picking up at least 260 seats. It lost 291 four years ago.

The Conservatives lost at least 320 seats this year after picking up 244 in 2009. The Liberal Democrats, the junior partner in the coalition government, lost 106 seats.

Elections for members of county councils and other local officials are often seen as a bellwether for general elections with the next one scheduled for 2015.

In Lincolnshire, Conservatives lost control of the council, the BBC reported. As an additional humiliation, the deputy council leader, a Conservative, lost his seat to a UKIP candidate.

In East Sussex, Labor seized seven of the eight council seats in Hastings, a first for the party, The (Brighton) Argus reported.

"On the doorstep, you were lucky to find a good word for the government, they are seen as out of touch, don't listen and don't really care about ordinary people," said Jeremy Birch, a Labor member who won re-election to the council.

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