UKIP tops Euro poll in East Midlands
The UK Independence Party (UKIP) gained a seat in the East Midlands as it came top in the European election vote in the region.
UKIP won 368,734 votes and took two of the five seats, as did the Conservative Party with 291,270 votes.
Labour also secured a seat and saw its share of the vote increase, while the Lib Dems lost its one seat in the region.
The UKIP candidates elected were Roger Helmer and Margot Parker.'Right message'
Mr Helmer, a former Conservative MEP, said: "It's very clear that the political classes have simply lost touch with the views of ordinary people.
"The people are sick to death of professional politicians [and] they want to hear from people who talk like human beings who understand their problems."
New UKIP MEP Ms Parker, a Northamptonshire businesswoman, added: "We've had a solid response back from people."
The Conservatives' Emma McClarkin and Andrew Lewer and Labour's Glenis Willmot were also elected.
So UKIP can celebrate. They return two MEPs. That was expected.
What was not expected was a particularly strong performance by the Conservatives who also sent two MEPs to the European Parliament. That will particularly please the Prime Minister with a crucial parliamentary by-election in Newark around the corner.
Ms Willmot said: "I was hoping that we would gain a seat but we were only 0.6% behind so it was very close."
Labour polled third with 279,363 votes, while the Green Party received 67,066 votes and the Lib Dems 60,770 votes.
New Conservative MEP, and former Derbyshire County Council leader, Andrew Lewer, said: "It's a big change for me but with a background in local government I hope that will help me with this new role."
There was defeat for the Liberal Democrat candidate Bill Newton-Dunn, who first became an MEP in 1979.
He said: "We've got to find a better way of getting our message across. We've got the right message we just haven't got it across. Britain has to stay in Europe."
UKIP's share of the vote in the region was 32.9% - up 16.45% from the last European election.
Turnout was 32.6%, 4.4% down on 2009.
Seats in the European Parliament are allocated according to the D'Hondt system, a type of proportional representation.