UKIP: The story of the UK Independence Party's rise

Nigel Farage celebrates Mark Reckless's Rochester victory Nigel Farage was in jubilant mood as his party took its second Westminster seat

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With its second elected MP at Westminster in as many months, the UK Independence Party has cemented its place as the new force in British politics. But its achievements are no overnight success.

The UK Independence Party has, as its name implies, one key policy - to leave the European Union.

It is a simple, understandable message, which has led to the party gaining bigger and bigger support in European elections, culminating in it topping the vote in May this year.

But it is also a message which meant people often dismissed it as a single-issue party, unlikely to transfer its success to Westminster politics.

It has spent considerable effort on broadening its appeal, spelling out how leaving the EU is the answer to a whole range of issues, notably controlling immigration, while also outlining plans to cut taxes for middle earners, speaking up for grammar schools and opposing gay marriage.

And the message from leader Nigel Farage - if any party has been associated with one man it is UKIP and Farage - seems to have struck a chord with disenchanted voters from the "big three".

Nigel Farage at the bar Nigel Farage enjoys an everyman image

It became clear in the 2013 Eastleigh by-election that UKIP, rather than Westminster's official Labour opposition, seemed to have become the party of choice for the anti-government vote and the anti-politics vote.

It has since proved capable of causing upsets in local elections in Tory and Lib Dem heartlands in the South of England and, as the South Shields and Heywood and Middleton by-elections demonstrated, Labour strongholds in the North. Its crowning moment came in October, when the party won its first Westminster seat, after the Conservative MP for Clacton, Douglas Carswell, defected to Mr Farage's team.

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UKIP's share of the vote in Westminster by-elections:

November 2014: 42.1%

October 2014: Clacton 59.75%

October 2014: Heywood and Middleton 38.7%

June 2014: Newark 25.9%

Feb 2014: Wythenshawe and Sale East 18%

May 2013: South Shields 24.2%

Feb 2013: Eastleigh 27.8%

Nov 2012: Rotherham 21.7%

Nov 2012: Middlesbrough 11.8%

Nov 2012: Croydon North 5.7%

Nov 2012: Manchester Central 4.5%

Nov 2012: Corby 14.3%

Nov 2012: Cardiff South and Penarth 6.1%

Mar 2012: Bradford West 3.3%

Dec 2011: Feltham and Heston 5.5%

July 2011: Inverclyde 1%

May 2011: Leicester South 2.9%

March 2011: Barnsley Central 12.2%

Jan 2011: Oldham East and Saddleworth 5.8%

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UKIP has realised the hard way that it is not enough just to pitch up at a by-election with a loud hailer and some media-friendly stunts, it requires months, even years, of groundwork in the local area.

The party's campaigning effort has become far more professional and well-funded in the past three years as a result. It is learning the highly specialised discipline, once the domain of the Lib Dems, of winning elections.

But UKIP is no overnight success or, as it can sometimes seem from the ubiquity of Mr Farage on the airwaves, a one-man party.

It has had more twists and turns - and splits and schisms - in its 20-year history than many a soap opera, with an equally colourful cast of characters.

Nigel Farage in 1997 Nigel Farage, pictured at a party event in 1997

How UKIP became a political force

Small parties have a habit of disintegrating into internal warfare or being wiped out by the vagaries of the electoral system and political fashion - British politics has seen a few come and go over the years.

But UKIP managed to keep its show on the road and defy the predictions of those who were ready to write the party off as, in the often-quoted words of David Cameron, "fruitcakes and loonies".

The party was founded on 3 September 1993 at the London School of Economics by members of the Anti-Federalist League, which had been founded by Dr Alan Sked in November 1991 with the aim of running candidates opposed to the Maastricht Treaty in the 1992 general election.

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UKIP's growing vote share in national elections:

1999 European elections 7%

2001 General election 1.5% (saved deposit in one seat)

2004 European elections 16%

2005 General election 2.3% (saved deposit in 38 seats)

2009 European elections 16.5%

2010 General election 3.2% (saved deposit in 100 seats)

2014 European elections 27.5%

Candidates must get 5% of votes cast to save their deposit

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UKIP's early days were overshadowed by the higher-profile and well-financed Referendum Party, led by Sir James Goldsmith, which was wound up soon after the 1997 election.

The new party's initial successes were all in the proportional representation elections for the European Parliament - winning its first three seats in 1999 with 7% of the vote.

From 1997: Nigel Farage says UKIP's time has come

It built on that in 2004, winning 12 seats and pushing the Lib Dems into fourth place. The 2009 poll saw its total grow to 13 seats, pushing Labour into third place with 16% of the vote.

And in 2014's European election the party lived up to its confident promise to top the vote, getting 27.5% of all those cast.

General elections, however, with their first-past-the-post voting systems, have been a different story and the party has failed to make the breakthrough it has been hoping for.

In 2001 it saved its deposit (that is, got at least 5% of votes) in just one seat. In 2005 it saved its deposit in 38 seats but lost its deposits in 451 others - costing about £225,500. Even its then leader, former Conservative MP Roger Knapman, could only poll 7% of the votes in Totnes, Devon.

Recognition factor

In 2010 it was led into the general election by Lord Pearson of Rannoch but again lost out, with just 3% of the vote across the UK, although there were signs of progress as it saved its deposit in 100 seats.

The party had hoped to make headlines after Mr Farage stood down as leader so he could take on Speaker John Bercow in Buckingham at the 2010 election - he did make the headlines but it turned out they were about a plane crash that almost cost Mr Farage his life, rather than election success.

Robert Kilroy Silk Robert Kilroy Silk was the public face of UKIP in 2004, before forming his own party
A UKIP billboard from the European elections in 2009 A UKIP billboard from the European elections in 2009

He recovered from his injuries and returned to head the party later in the year, in the latest instalment of the colourful story of UKIP's leadership.

Original leader and UKIP founder Alan Sked quit before the 1999 European elections, after arguing the party should refuse seats in the "gravy train" of the Strasbourg Parliament.

Shortly after that, the national executive lost a no-confidence vote and leader Michael Holmes resigned, although he remained an MEP.

Mr Knapman took over the role of leader in 2002, but in 2004, a new pretender to the crown - former Labour MP and chat show host Robert Kilroy-Silk - arrived in a flurry of media publicity to shake things up once again.

Before long he was openly jockeying for the leadership and was the media face of the party for the 2004 European election success - but when Mr Knapman refused to stand aside for him, Mr Kilroy-Silk quit and formed his own short-lived rival party.

Some thought that without Mr Kilroy-Silk's recognition factor the party might struggle.

Farage returns

In 2006, the lower-key Mr Knapman retired, to be replaced by Nigel Farage, an eye-catching media performer who pledged to make UKIP a "truly representative party", ending its image as a single-issue pressure group.

He spearheaded its success at the 2009 European elections and raised UKIP's profile, but surprised his own party conference in September that year by standing down as leader.

Nigel Farage Mr Farage says UKIP is not just a threat to the Conservatives, but is "parking our tanks on the Labour Party's lawn".

Mr Farage said he would instead run for a seat in the Commons - specifically the seat of Commons Speaker John Bercow, which, by convention, other major parties do not fight. Mr Farage said it was "very important that UKIP gets a voice in Westminster".

Eton-educated Lord Pearson was Mr Farage's choice to replace him - but the peer never seemed at home in the job - for instance, admitting at the 2010 general election manifesto launch that he was not quite across the party's policy detail.

Mr Farage continued to be the highest-profile UKIP member - making headlines, and a viral video success, after telling the in-coming president of the European Council, Herman van Rompuy, that he had "the charisma of a damp rag".

Following the 2010 election, when the party failed again to turn European into UK political success, Lord Pearson announced in August 2010 that he was stepping down, saying he did not enjoy party politics. Five hopefuls entered the race to succeed him, with Mr Farage triumphing.

'I'm a bit odd'

From that point onwards the party has seen its poll ratings rise, overtaking the Lib Dems and staying above them in most polls, and putting in increasingly stronger showings in by-elections.

David Cameron's historic pledge to hold and an in/out referendum on UK membership of the EU if the Conservatives won the next election was interpreted by some as an attempt to halt the rise of UKIP, which senior Tories feared could prevent them from winning an overall majority in 2015.

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UKIP membership figures:

2002: 9,000

2003: 16,000

2004: 26,000

2005: 19,000

2006: 16,000

2007: 15,878

2008: 14,630

2009: 16,252

2010: 15,535

2011: 17,184

2012: 20,409

2013: 32,447

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If that was Mr Cameron's plan, it does not appear to have worked.

Mr Farage criticised the decision to delay the vote by five years, and claimed the prime minister's promise showed "we have changed the political agenda in this country" calling it "our proudest achievement to date".

UKIP's position in recent by-elections and opinion polls

How UKIP became a political force

Asked what he would do if the British people voted to remain in the EU, Mr Farage joked that he would have to get a "proper job". But the party's success in local elections suggests it might have a future, even without the European issue, as a libertarian, right wing alternative to a centrist Conservative Party.

UKIP appears to have struck a chord with many voters on the issue of immigration, which was the focus of its European election campaign this year and an issue frequently raised by people saying they were going to vote for them ahead of the Rochester and Strood by-election.

It has rejected claims that it is simply "against" foreigners, arguing that it is in favour of a sensible "managed" migration policy, something Mr Farage argues is not possible while Britain remains in the EU. However, the party found itself in hot water over the issue a few days before its Rochester win, when is candidate, Mark Reckless, suggested EU migrants would only be allowed to stay in the UK for a fixed period if the UK left the European Union.

Those remarks were clarified later by UKIP, to reject the idea EU citizens faced deportation, and Mr Reckless later said he had been misquoted.

The party says leaving the EU is the only way to be able to control who moves the UK from Europe and says it would boost the UK's border force to crack down on illegal immigration. They would also change the law so that those without identifying documents can be sent back to the country they travelled from.

Although it is widely said to have gained support as a result of its tough talk on immigration - something pointed out by Nottingham University professor Matthew Goodwin in a book charting UKIP's rise - it has also been a key part of Nigel Farage's strategy to distance the party from the far right - its constitution bans former BNP members from joining.

Professor Matthew Goodwin Matthew Goodwin says UKIP's message has changed from one just about the EU to one with immigration and anti-Westminster establishment at its heart

Mr Farage's maverick style - his fondness for a pint of beer, disarming frankness and ability to laugh at himself - has given him a similar kind of appeal to voters as Boris Johnson, who has described the UKIP man as "a rather engaging geezer". But higher prominence has brought greater scrutiny, and earlier this month Mr Farage was forced to clarify his position on the NHS after a video of him appeared in which he suggested a publicly funded health service be replaced by a private insurance model.

Despite his background being, on paper, identical to many a politician, the message from focus groups and voters is that he is "different", not one of "them" at Westminster.

SDP official launch in 1981 UKIP will hope to avoid the fate of the SDP in 1980s, which won by-elections, and soared in polls but in the end failed to translate that into a large chunk of Westminster seats

He told BBC Radio 4's Today in 2013 that he was "odd" but only in the sense that it was "odd" to be a politician "not doing this for a career... I'm here as a campaigner. I want to free this country from the European Union and then I want us to have a much smaller level of state interference in our lives in this country".

For much of its life UKIP has been seen as attracting Tories unhappy with the party, especially the Conservatives' move towards the centre under David Cameron and the current coalition government. Mr Farage says there are now "three social democratic parties".

There have also been more recent signs of gains from Labour, with UKIP seeming to get support from the same sort of anti-Westminster, anti-politics vote as Alex Salmond's Yes campaign in the recent Scottish referendum.

In that Today interview Nigel Farage said UKIP did not have any MPs because "the first-past-the-post system is brutal to a party like us".

That may have been so at past general elections - but winning in Clacton and now Rochester and Strood shows it is no longer just in European elections that UKIP is a force to be reckoned with.

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    22:02: Bernadette Willis

    emails: My memory was as a seven year old, watching the funeral with my family on black and white television in rural South Australia. My parents wanted us to watch it - a State funeral of a great man, notwithstanding the Gallipoli campaign. I remembered being completely overawed by the carriages and the nodding cranes - although I did not understand the significance of the occasion or the man until later in life. Very moving to be working in the City of London on this day so many years later.

     
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    21:32: Marilyn Gleason

    emails: I can vividly remember Winston Churchill's funeral as it was televised live across the nation here in the United States. My father was in the Army Air Force during World War II, and we had great respect and admiration for Churchill's leadership of his country during that war. We lived in a tiny town in rural Iowa then and everyone watched this event with great thankfulness for his life and sadness at his passing. As his mother was American, we felt a special bond with him in that respect as well.

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    emails: I was born in may 58 so was six years and nine months. I remember clearly watching the funeral live on black and white TV with my father and he explaining about Churchill. I still have a Churchill crown coin issued afterwards. I must have been inspired as later on I joined the army for 36 years!!

     
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    emails: I was a junior member of the BBC News workforce stationed in Broadcasting House when Winston Churchill died. On Monday we went into Regent Street and found all the big shops and stripped their windows out and were full of purple and pictures of Churchill. They must have worked through Sunday because in those days there were no shops open.

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    emails: I was 13, living in Bristol. It was a Saturday so I was at my riding school. Our riding school mistress had made sure that all the pupils (about 15 of us) listened to the whole funeral in the tack room. Although we were too young to remember his war years, we had a great reverence for him and listened quietly to the whole event, knowing that it was a very sombre day for the country. We did not go riding that day as it was a day of mourning for everyone.

     
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    19:31: Claire Suart

    emails: I was a 12 year old living in Uganda when Churchill died. My father was a history teacher with the Colonial Service in a secondary school. Having been in the RAF during the war, he was a big fan of Churchill's so for his funeral he sourced a radio from somewhere and then invited all the neighbours in to listen to it. I had only ever heard or seen radios in England - we didn't have one in Uganda. We relied on the local newspaper for local news and The Manchester Guardian sent out weekly from England for international news. I assume they heard about Churchill's death from colleagues - there was always someone who found out these things and spread the word. I clearly remember the sitting room being full of chairs so that everyone could listen to the proceedings. I remember imagining the contrast between the cold dark wet winter's day in London compared to the hot bright day with us.

     
  40.  
    19:26: Peter Watts

    emails: I was 18 years of age at the time of Churchill's state funeral. I lived in Kingston, but worked at The British & French Bank in the City. In those days we worked half a day on Saturday. The bank was on the corner of King William Street and Arthur Street. To get from Bank underground station to my office I was given a memorandum signed by my manager which I had to show to a policeman if I wanted to cross any road. A colleague brought a cine camera to work to film the funeral as it crossed the junction where Cannon Street joins Eastcheap. His camera was taken apart by the police. It reminds me that terrorism was a concern 50 years ago. A director of the bank invited all the staff into his office, which overlooked the Cannon Street/Cheapside junction, and I have a firm memory of watching the cortege pass from my second floor vantage point.

     
  41.  
    19:06: Peter Seddon

    emails: In the summer of 1952 my Father was attending a medical conference in London. Since we lived in Wigan, he used it as an excuse to take his family for a holiday, and to see the sights, ( I was about eight). I remember us walking up Downing Street, and standing outside Number 10, something you sadly haven't been able to do for many years. But my most cherished memory is when we, (my dad, mum, my four year old brother and me) were walking on the pavement outside the Houses of Parliament, about to cross the exit from Parliament's car park. A policeman politely motioned for us to stand still, and a large black limousine drove out and stopped right in front of us, as it waited for a gap in the traffic.

    My dad told me to "wave Pete", and I did , and the gentleman in the back of the limousine wearing a black overcoat, Homburg, and smoking a large cigar waved back. Then the car moved off. The thing that makes it special is, apart from the policeman, we were completely alone on that pavement, there was nobody else around. He waved to me.

     
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  43.  
    18:42: Bob Evans

    emails: I can remember at the age of 13 standing with my mother on a very crowded platform at Twickenham Station to watch the steam locomotive-hauled funeral train pass through on its way to Oxfordshire. I remember seeing the flag-draped coffin on a trestle alone in a gleaming parcel wagon especially restored for this journey. Local shops removed their normal window dressings - photos of Sir Winston were displayed instead.

     
  44.  
    18:24: Gerald Clipp

    emails: I was 14 years old in January 1965. I lived in Fulham and was attending Elliott Comprehensive in Putney. One night, straight after school I went to Westminster to pay my respects to Sir Winston Churchill. The queue went along the Embankment over Lambeth Bridge and back along the opposite embankment. It took a long time to reach the chapel. There was a military guard on each of the four corners. I remember each one was standing perfectly still the whole time. I don't think you were allowed to stop moving once inside.

     
  45.  
    18:18: Former Welsh Secretary to stand down

    More details on the decision of the former Welsh Secretary Paul Murphy to stand down as a Labour MP at the general election. He has been in parliament for 28 years.

     
  46.  
    18:09: Richard

    emails: As a 10 year old I was glued to the television, fascinated by it all. 10 years later when I was posted to Hong Kong in the Grenadier Guards I found out that my Platoon Sergeant (BEM) was one of the coffin bearers.

     
  47.  
    17:59: Migrant voters BBC News UK

    Migrant voters could have a "decisive" impact in key marginal seats at the general election, a report suggests.

     
  48.  
    17:54: Janet Hoffritz

    emails: I remember watching the funeral of Sir Winston Churchill very vividly. I lived in Washington, DC and I had to go out and buy my first television set so that I could watch his funeral. And getting up at about 5:00 am so as not to miss it. It will be something that I will never forget. Sir Winston was one of the greatest prime ministers the UK has had.

     
  49.  
    17:43: Paul Murphy to stand down

    Former Welsh Secretary Paul Murphy is to stand down as an MP ahead of May's general election. The 66-year-old has been MP for Torfaen since 1987. His majority at the 2010 election was 9,306. He was Secretary of State for Wales twice, from 1999 to 2002 and again in 2008-09. First Minister Carwyn Jones said: "Paul Murphy is one of the great Welsh political figures. He played a major role in securing peace in Northern Ireland and our current and future generations across the UK owe him a debt of gratitude for that alone."

     
  50.  
    17:38: Donald Ian Atkinson

    emails: We watched the funeral on TV at home in Letchworth, we had the day off school. My father (Donald Atkinson), a Royal Marine Commando during the war, cried. My mother said she had never see him cry before. I never saw him cry again. I don't believe my father, or many of his generation, respected anyone more than Winston Churchill.

     
  51.  
    17:29: Labour and the Greens Richard Moss Political editor, North East & Cumbria

    Labour MPs are calling for change as the threat from the Green Party grows.

    The Greens are looking to peel off voters from Labour - but what should Ed Miliband's response be?

     
  52.  
    17:27: 'Plebgate' costs

    The former Conservative chief whip, Andrew Mitchell, has been ordered to pay two sets of legal costs, arising from his unsuccessful libel action over the so-called Plebgate affair. In November, a judge ruled he had probably used the word "pleb" during an argument with a policeman at the Downing Street gates. Today, a High Court judge said he should pay the legal bills for News Group Newspapers, which owns The Sun, and the policeman at the centre of the case, Toby Rowland.

     
  53.  
    17:19: David Robinson

    emails: I remember his Lying in State in the Palace of Westminster. I went with my parents. I was 17. We started lining up on the other side of the river, along by Lambeth Palace at about 8.30 pm, not very far from where I'd been born in 1947. It was a bitter, cold, night, and the crowd, with people still forming behind us, made the long slow trek to the bridge and then over the river. For so many people in one place, there was a remarkable quiet; of course, some people spoke, but in hushed voices, their words making shapes in the icy air. For my parents, it was something that they "must do". They were both Geordies, but had spent much of the war years in London as my father was there on war work. They saw their attendance as an obligation, a duty to witness the final journey of a man who, in their hour of need and fear, had revealed to them the Heroic stature that was their legacy as English men and women. He had found the words that resonated in English hearts and made them brave. That feeling - palpable - was there that night.

    When we finally entered from the dark into the lit space in the Palace where the coffin lay, and I saw the four military persons at the corners, and the flag draped over the coffin, it was about three am. We followed the circle around the coffin, heads bowed with, not only for myself, but, I sensed, for everyone else who was there, a realisation that what we were doing was an act of a Nation in mourning, not just one small family.

     
  54.  
    17:13: Labour and the NHS Chris Cook BBC Newsnight policy editor

    BBC Newsnight's Policy Editor Chris Cook looks at the issues around Labour's stance on the NHS.

     
  55.  
    16:48: Kaz Majcher

    I was five years old when the great man died but I remember the day as if it was only yesterday. Last Sunday I took my two teenage children to his resting place in Bladon, as a mark of respect, it was a very moving experience for all of us. My father came to England after the battle of Monte Casino fighting with the free Polish Army, he made England his home until he died in 1988... and told me that no one should underestimate what Churchill did for the greater freedom of Europe he was a very inspirational man.

     
  56.  
    16:38: Bookie cuts SNP odds

    William Hill says it has cut the odds of the SNP ending up as part of a coalition government following the general election from 13/2 to 9/2, making that the second favourite for a government to be formed, behind a repeat of the coalition between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats at 4/1.

    "All of a sudden the SNP has become extraordinarily pivotal in political pundits' thoughts of what might happen in the event of another hung Parliament - which is now a heavily-backed 3/10 chance," spokesman Graham Sharpe said. "It seems far-fetched to see the SNP, who won just six seats at the last general election, quite possibly ending up as the third largest party in Parliament, but opinion polls are suggesting they have every chance of achieving that." William Hill has made SNP odds-on to win more seats at the general election than the Lib Dems.

     
  57.  
    16:29: Greens move to bigger venue

    The Green Party says it has switched to a bigger venue for their pre-election conference in March, after gaining new members. The party will hold its spring conference at the ACC in Liverpool, which has a 1,350 capacity, rather than St George's Hall, which can only fit around 800. Leader Natalie Bennett also says they are aiming to stand in 100% of seats rather than the 75% they were previously targeting.

    Natalie Bennett
     
  58.  
    16:18: Paul Jenkins

    At the time of Sir Winston Churchill's funeral on the 30th January 1965, I was a pupil at Churchill's old prep school, Brunswick in Sussex. I have a clear memory of the entire school (100 boys) sitting cross-legged in complete silence on the floor of the Main Hall watching the ceremony live from start to finish on television.

    Every boy there was entirely familiar with the Churchill legend and his monumental achievements; in fact the great man had, only a few months prior to his death, made a significant contribution to the school at a time when its finances were perilously placed. I'd like to think that his gift was in recognition of the happy times he spent at Brunswick (when it was situated in Brunswick Square, Hove).

     
  59.  
    16:01: Malcolm King, Surrey

    emails: I remember watching the funeral on television and to this day it is one of the most moving occasions I have seen. I have never seen such perfection in the military precision from the marching to ceremonial coordination. Seeing Jeremy Paxman's review was very emotional.

     
  60.  
    15:47: SNP manifesto appeal

    The SNP is inviting party members to submit ideas for its general election manifesto.

    The party saw its membership increase from around 25,000 to more that 93,000 following the Scottish independence referendum last September.

    Deputy leader Stewart Hosie said: "The SNP are extremely keen to reach out to our new members, who reflect all of the many diverse communities of Scotland, and benefit from their experience.

    "Today we are offering all of our members the opportunity to take part in shaping our manifesto - to put forward their ideas for consideration."

     
  61.  
    15:41: Political pacts

    UKIP says the party is "not promising pacts with anyone". A statement says: "For us politics is about getting something done, not about stitching up deals to get jobs for the boys. We think about you - not us.

    "For that reason we will drive for a confidence and supply agreement to ensure the big issues that matter to the public are on the table and that voters have a powerful voice. It looks increasingly likely that we will have a hung parliament after May, so now is the time for voters to back the party that really represents them and will make sure that their concerns are addressed and not brushed under the carpet for another 5 years by a cosy cartel of establishment parties."

     
  62.  
    15:39: Frances Bingham

    emails: This must be one of my earliest memories. My parents lived in Morpeth Terrace, beside Westminster Cathedral, so the funeral procession passed quite close and we walked from home to join the people watching. I have a very vivid visual memory of seeing the gun carriage pass, which is the only image I recall, but I didn't understand what it was, or that there was a coffin under the union jack. I was lifted up to see it pass slowly by, and sensed the solemn atmosphere in the crowd. The importance of the occasion must also have been explained to me; my grandfather Cedric Worsdell was one of Churchill's election agents in the 1950s and admired him very much.

     
  63.  
    15:27: 'Plebgate' BBC News UK

    Former minister Andrew Mitchell refused an offer to settle his "Plebgate" libel case two months before he lost, court papers seen by the BBC show.

     
  64.  
    15:22: John Davies, Marietta Georgia

    emails: I remember it well, I was apprenticed at a printer in London, one of my first jobs there was to work on a magazine supplement for the funeral. My job was to put the pictures and type together to make the cylinders to print the magazine.

     
  65.  
    15:15: Boris Johnson: 'No regrets'

    Asked whether he regretted his comments in The Sun about people who join religious extremist groups such as Islamic State, the London Mayor Boris Johnson said: "Not remotely; I don't think anybody could contest a word I said." The politician described such people as "porn-driven losers".

     
  66.  
    15:09: Steve Gove-Humphries, Birmingham

    emails: I was just 11 years old at the time of the funeral. We were told about Churchill by the Head Master and were all very excited at the prospect of a day off school for the funeral. We watched the funeral on a TV in the library I recall. The huge TV was wheeled in & we sat in almost complete silence as the service went on.

    It has been fascinating to hear the BBC back stories on the ceremony. The evocation of the past and our history is something that still I find moving. We will not see its like again I think.

     
  67.  
    15:05: Kay-Lesley Hallam Black, Belper

    emails: I am 68 and have been glued to my TV since 9am this morning, watching black & white film of Churchill's State funeral as I watched 50 years ago with my beloved father sitting quietly weeping as he acknowledged this great but flawed man as his saviour and the Lion who gave the roar & inspired the nation in the war years!

    On the 30th of January 1965 he watched and wept in gratitude at the passing not just of this great Briton and inspirational leader of the nation. He thanked God for Churchill's 90 years and at that time his 50 - and I too have kept faith with that again today thanks to your extensive and comprehensive coverage! Only we British can put on a ceremony with such superlative solemnity and dignity!

     
  68.  
    @TweetUKElection 14:56: UK Elections

    tweets: This shows the number of votes cast for each party at By-Elections from 2005-2010.

     
  69.  
    14:41: Adrian Chojnacki

    @ChojnackiAdrian tweets: Now Churchill and Bevan. That was a Great War coalition. Pity the current coalition is but a mere shadow of that example #Churchill2015

     
  70.  
    14:37: Childhood memory
    Sir Winston Churchill funeral barge

    Martyn Best tells us: "I was there as a nine year old with a camera given to me by my father who was a professional photographer. A family friend was an architect working for Taylor Woodrow who were constructing a new building next to the Tower of London. We stood on an open floor of the incomplete structure and I took the attached picture. I had also attended the lying-in-state and remember having to get up at about 5am to get the train up to London from Hertfordshire, walking past the coffin in Westminster Hall and then getting back home in time for school. It is all a very clear childhood memory."

     
  71.  
    14:30: 'Gave the roar to the British lion' BBC News Channel

    Historian Warren Dockter says Churchill's state funeral was a "major and global event" and it is important to commemorate it today. He singles out the wartime leader's "remarkable will". "It's famously said he gave the roar to the British lion and that's definitely true," he says.

     
  72.  
    14:23: Georgette McCready

    @GeorgeTMcCready tweets: @FleurHitchcock #Churchill funeral is my first memory of watching television. Black, white and grainy. My parents stood - out of respect?

     
  73.  
    14:21: Funeral flotilla recreated

    Missed the funeral flotilla recreated for the 50th anniversary of Sir Winston Churchill's state funeral? Watch the Havengore make the trip from the Tower of London to the Palace of Westminster where a special service took place.

    The Havengore - which carried Winston Churchill's coffin, returns to the the Thames
     
  74.  
    14:16: John Drake

    emails: I was living in Middleburg in Holland on the day of Churchill's funeral. It seemed to me on that day that Holland came to a standstill to honour the great man.

     
  75.  
    14:10: Robin Pyman

    emails: I was at school in Oxford. A large number of us went down to the railway line that ran alongside the Oxford canal at the bottom of our playing fields and stood alongside the track, bowing our heads as the great man's train passed by, taking him to his final resting place. We were all in awe. He was our hero.

     
  76.  
    13:56: Ina Holmen

    emails: My entire elementary school in Canada was brought into the gymnasium where the funeral procession was viewed on an elevated television placed near the stage. I remember it being similar to Remembrance Day with speeches, flags, and dignitaries from veterans groups present.

     
  77.  
    Tweet @BBC_HaveYourSay 13:53: Jan Shoesmith

    @4TBookworm tweets: Amazing to think Churchill's funeral was 50 yrs ago today. it's the first news item I ever remember I was 5 & had measles #Churchill

     
  78.  
    13:44: Westminster Abbey

    Westminster Abbey will host a ceremony from 18:00 GMT, with flowers laid at the green marble stone placed there in memorial to Churchill.

     
  79.  
    13:43: Havengore on the move

    The Havengore is back on the move again.

     
  80.  
    Email talkingpoint@bbc.co.uk 13:35: Send us your comments

    Rosemary Pettit emails: On the day of his funeral I was a know-it-all undergraduate with arrogant ideas, determined not to pay homage to an imperialistic war leader. So I ignored the whole thing but couldn't resist turning on the radio for the occasion. Sharing the top floor of a flat high in Hampstead I was quite unprepared for the fly-past which, like a thunder-clap, roared straight over my head. Suddenly, the superciliousness evaporated, the tension fell away and I felt united with all the good people who had lived and breathed during the war, and were even now gathered by St Pauls and the Thames, round their televisions and all over the world. Thank you RAF for bringing me to my senses.

     
  81.  
    13:24: Havengore comes to rest
    The Havengore outside the Houses of Parliament

    The Havengore comes to rest near the Houses of Parliament, where Churchill served as an MP for 60 years, and a brief service is now being held on board.

     
  82.  
    13:15: John Phillips

    emails: As I watch the re-run of Sir Winston Churchill's funeral I can remember the events quite clearly... Winston Churchill was my 'hero'. My mother, who came from Forest Gate, had endured the Blitz and had always maintained huge respect for "Mr Churchill", had told me countless stories of the war and how he had inspired the nation to victory.... To our disappointment when we got to London, the queues were enormous. However that fact in itself made me realise just how much loved Churchill was and we comforted ourselves with the thought that this had made the enterprise worthwhile.

    We got back around 2 am and the next day, morning school was cancelled so that we could all watch the funeral of the 'Greatest Briton' as Mo Mowlam later called him.

     
  83.  
    13:11: "Sombre and quiet"
    Barry Barnes recalling Churchill's funeral

    Barry Barnes, who witnessed the flotilla in person in 1965 and captured some of the day's images on film, recalls that the mood on the day matched the weather. "It was fairly sombre and very quiet", he tells the BBC.

     
  84.  
    13:07: Watching from the Millennium Bridge
    The Havengore passes under the Millennium Bridge in London

    The crowds may not be of quite the same size as in 1965 but there are new vantage points that weren't available 50 years ago.

     
  85.  
    13:04: Watching the funeral

    Brian Giles emails: Churchill's funeral will always be remembered by me, as on the Thursday before the funeral we had bought our first television from Radio Rentals, it was black and white and I watched the funeral on it with my parents.

     
  86.  
    13:03: Churchill's hearse

    Christopher Meeking emails: My grandfather, Charles Meeking, drove the hearse that took Winston Churchill's casket from the Festival Hall Pier to Waterloo Station as he was the senior driver for Kenyon's Funeral Services in London. My father had a picture from a broadsheet newspaper of the hearse and my grandfather clearly visible through the windscreen - it may well still be in the loft at my mother's house.

     
  87.  
    13:00: Havengore from above
    Havengore passing underneath Blackfriars Bridge

    An aerial shot of the Havengore passing under Blackfriars Bridge.

     
  88.  
    12:56: John Emmerson

    emails: My Dad took me to see the funeral procession, I was 10 years old and we travelled from Warrington down to London on a coach. I fell asleep on the way back and woke up in Wigan!

     
  89.  
    12:54: Michael Smith, Ottawa

    emails: As a 17 year old I had gone to the abbey to pay my respects to Churchill the night prior to the funeral. After a five hour or longer slow walk with what seemed like thousands of other mourners that crossed the Thames twice I finally passed the great man lying in state. To this day I respect Winston Churchill as the greatest Englishman ever and we were lucky to have had him.

     
  90.  
    12:54: The Havengore passes HMS Belfast

    The Havengore passes HMS Belfast, a major military landmark on the Thames. Tourists on board the famous warship wave as the smaller vessel passes by, the BBC's Duncan Kennedy says.

     
  91.  
    12:51: Paul Sayles, Misawa, Japan

    emails: I was living in Dunoon, Scotland at the time and watched the entire event on TV. I think all of my family was moved by the rendering of honours by the crane operators as Sir Winston passed the docks on his way home. I still remember the feeling 50 years on as if it was that day.

     
  92.  
    12:49: On its way
    Havengore

    The Havengore makes its way down the Thames, with those on board including pipers and volunteers reprising the role of pallbearers.

     
  93.  
    12:45: Tower Bridge opens
    Tower Bridge

    Tower Bridge is opening its gate as a mark of respect as the Havengore makes its way down the Thames.

     
  94.  
    12:44:

    emails: I was seven at the time of the funeral, and we had not long had a television. It was switched on for the early part of the ceremony, but, unfortunately, we were in the middle of moving from Cheshire to Shropshire, and had to go house-hunting on that day, it being a Saturday. Consequently, much as I wanted to stay at home and watch the funeral, I couldn't. I've regretted this for fifty years - I am looking forward to seeing the recording later!

     
  95.  
    12:43: 'Lovingly restored' BBC News Channel

    The BBC's Ben Brown says the Havengore has been "loving restored" by its current owner from a stage when "grass had been growing through the deck" a few years ago.

     
  96.  
    12:42: 'Fitting tribute' BBC News Channel
    The Havengore recreating Winston Churchill's funeral cortege

    The BBC's Duncan Kennedy, on board a boat on the Thames, says it was a "fitting tribute" that Churchill's coffin was placed on the front of the Havengore boat and carried down the river because of his role as naval secretary.

     
  97.  
    12:39: Labour NHS debate Daily Politics Live on BBC Two

    Asked about the internal debate within Labour about health policy and the role of the private sector, shadow minister Steve Reed tells the BBC that the opposition backs "what works". Pressed on this, he says the NHS must be reformed to give more control to the people who use it rather than "privatised".

     
  98.  
    12:29: 'Proud day' Daily Politics Live on BBC Two

    Asked if it is a "sad day" for his family, Rupert Soames says it quite the contrary. "It is a proud day. It is a triumph he is still remembered," he tells the Daily Politics. "What could be better."

     
  99.  
    12:24: 'In gratitude'
    Message on wreath reading: 'From the nation of today, and the youth of tomorrow - in gratitude'

    Relatives and politicians left messages on wreaths during the service at the Houses of Parliament earlier.

     
  100.  
    12:22: Peter

    emails: I remember, age 11, seeing his funeral on TV. My mum had turned it on. Even then, I knew he was special, but the scale of his funeral made that clear. Now, having read his books, and others, I realise he was a complex and fallible man, who became an extraordinary leader when put under extreme pressure.

     

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