At the time of writing, UKIP had won 42 seats in councils across the country, and was averaging about 26% of the votes in the places where it actually put candidates up for election. That puts some serious pressure on the main parties – and could spell a major disruption in the next general election if Farage can keep up this momentum.
In an interview with the BBC, Farage said: ‘Three parties, three fronts benches who look the same and sound the same and made up of people who basically have never had a job in the real world.
‘But are they voting UKIP just to stick two fingers up and to scream very loudly or are they voting UKIP because we're offering positive policy alternatives? I don't think these votes are going away quickly.’
The elections saw 2,300 council seats up for grabs in contests over 27 English county councils and seven unitary authorities. Oh, and Anglesey was in there as well. UKIP won its first ever seats in Essex and Hampshire, as well as 16 seats on Lincolnshire council. That meant that in the latter, the Conservatives lost overall control.
Meanwhile, Labour won the parliamentary by-election in South Shields (for a seat that David Miliband vacated), but UKIP came a very close second, and the Lib Dems were practically walking the plank in seventh place.
There are still some results to come in however, so the overall disruptive effect of UKIP may not yet have been felt fully…
For another side to the immigration debate (UKIP’s hobby horse), check out MT’s feature on London’s Tech City…