UKIP, Labour make solid gains in U.K. local elections

Prime Minister David Cameron's coalition was dealt a blow a year ahead of the country's general elections.
By Ananth Baliga  |  May 23, 2014 at 9:08 AM
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LONDON, May 23 (UPI) -- The U.K. Independence Party and Labour Party made big gains in the United Kingdom's local elections, which are being seen as a precursor to next year's general elections.

Elections were held for about one-quarter of the U.K.'s local government seats, and despite not being a fair estimate of what's expected in the 2015 elections, Prime Minister David Cameron and his Conservative Party could be concerned with the rise of the small anti-EU party.

Labour leader Ed Miliband pledged that his party would win back voters from UKIP before next year's elections.

"You also saw some people turning to UKIP and I am determined that over the next year we persuade them that we can change their lives for the better," said Miliband.

The gains also dealt a blow to two parties in Cameron's coalition government. With a third of the results out, the Labour Party had gained 102 local government seat, UKIP was up 86 seats, whereas the Conservative Party and Liberals Democrats lost 95 and 98 seats respectively.

The UKIP has said that Britain needs to leave the EU and regain control of its own policies. Party leader Nigel Farage has made controversial statements suggesting that EU immigrants are after British jobs and that the country is run by the regional authority.

"There are areas across the country where now we have got an imprint in local government and where under the first-past-the-post system we are serious players. And what we will do over the course of the summer is we will chose our target constituencies and throw the kitchen sink at them, " said UKIP leader Nigel Farage.

Labour, which has run a campaign criticizing the government's austerity policies, is running neck-and-neck with the Conservatives and made significant gains, especially in London.

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