UKIP wakeup for mainstream parties

2014-05-23 22:33
Nigel Farage, leader of Britain's United Kingdom Independence Party  with a pint of beer in South Benfleet, England. (Lefteris Pitarakis, AP)

Nigel Farage, leader of Britain's United Kingdom Independence Party with a pint of beer in South Benfleet, England. (Lefteris Pitarakis, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

London - The first rumbles of a political "earthquake" promised by UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage were apparent on Friday, as initial results from local elections showed the party had won more than 100 seats and was likely to win double.

It follows unprecedented gains in local polls last year while the party is also predicted to win the European Parliament elections, which also took place on Thursday though the results will not be known until Sunday. UKIP, with its flagship policy of withdrawal from the European Union, now has its sights firmly set on next year's general election: "The UKIP fox is in the Westminster hen house," said Farage.

It is the first time a grassroots party has been able to make any serious challenge to the mainstream in a century. And while Britain's first-past-the-post system in general elections makes it difficult for new political parties to break into Westminster, all the main parties - the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats - are worried.

Mainstream politicians were out of touch with voters, said Lib Dem minister Lynne Featherstone: "We are so guarded and so on message that we have lost our humanity." UKIP, on the other hand, had "managed to sound like human beings," she told the BBC. Her party, the Conservatives' coalition partners, took fright as they looked on track to lose around 300 councillors, possibly leaving them at their lowest overall numbers in three decades.

Leader Nick Clegg was forced to insist he would not quit, also blaming "a very strong anti-politics mood around" for his party's poor results. The knives were also out for Labour leader Ed Miliband, as the opposition party failed to make the most of an austerity-weary electorate angry at the government, and fears increased that it would be beaten into second place by UKIP in the European elections.

"The narrative around Ed Miliband, because it's the truth, is that he looks weird, sounds weird, is weird," the Times quoted a "senior Labour figure" as saying. Labour parliamentarian Graham Stringer condemned "both the presentation of our policies and the organization of the campaign", while his colleague David Lammy added: There's no doubt about it, UKIP are biting into parts of Labour's working-class vote."

But many of Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservatives see UKIP's success as a sign that the promise of an EU referendum is key to winning back voters, despite opinion polls which show Europe is fairly low on the list of voters' concerns.

That is why the prime minister last year promised to renegotiate Britain's relationship with the EU, and hold a referendum on British membership of the bloc by 2017, if he is re-elected. After results began trickling in from local elections on Friday, some Conservatives launched fresh appeals for a pact with UKIP, suggesting the two parties run joint candidates next year to avoid splitting the centre-right vote.

"If David Cameron is as serious about an In/Out vote in 2017 as he says he is, and if Nigel Farage is as serious about Brexit as he claims, the two of them need to do a deal," wrote Conservative parliamentarian Douglas Carswell on his Daily Telegraph blog.

"If the alternative is Ed Miliband as Prime Minister, and no chance of a referendum, surely a pact is worth considering?" he added. The idea was firmly rejected by Cameron however: "We are the Conservative Party. We don't do pacts and deals. We'll be fighting all out for a win at the next election," he said.

- SAPA
Read more on:    ukip  |  david cameron  |  ed miliband  |  uk  |  uk elections
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
8 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

Summer Survey!
Great ideas for the best summer sandwiches!
Christmas lingerie to make this festive season the best one ever!
13 things you might not know about Disneyland

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

The energy today is serious, materialistic and hardworking. You may find you get a new outlook on things and you may want to spend...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.