Relief, disbelief, despair and concern

Lib Dem candidate Mike Thornton  and UKIP candidate Diane James

Relief for the Liberal Democrats who held on despite everything.

Disbelief for UKIP who came close to an extraordinary mould-breaking victory and might have secured it if they'd believed it possible.

Despair for many Conservatives seeing themselves forced into third place in a seat they need to win to form a majority government in the future and by a party they now fear will rob them of that chance.

Concern for Labour who, even when the coalition is so unpopular, found themselves an irrelevant fourth.

Even though the Eastleigh constituency did not change hands, this by-election will change politics - spurring on those Tories who insist that David Cameron is driving their party over an electoral cliff.

Energising Nigel Farage and UKIP to believe and to claim that they are a new force in national politics.

Fuelling those who criticise Ed Miliband for not extending Labour's appeal enough.

And giving Nick Clegg a small respite after being forced into this by-election by a scandal, having his campaign overshadowed by another and being told he and his party were finished.

The result is a reminder that politics is still local - a popular local council and strong local party helped the Eastleigh Lib Dems to weather a national storm.

That storm will now switch its focus to the prime minister who will face one question again and again from his own MPs and activists - what on earth do we do about UKIP?

Nick Robinson, Political editor Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

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  • rate this

    Comment number 186.

    78. meninwhitecoats

    ' The problem is not immigration it is recession - cure the latter and the former is not an issue - unless you have issues with immigrants. '

    Fact the pro EU believe perpetual growth is the answer shows they are mainly globalists masquerading as liberals.

    Austerity is making problem worse, just I believe answer lies in following Australia and Nordic example not globalism.

  • rate this

    Comment number 185.

    UKIP tell it straight and the Posh Tory Boys are surprised we don't believe their bluster anymore. Brussels plans the end of the UK by a thousand cuts - devolution, bank bonus limits, mass immigration....

    The UK has fallen out with Brussels already. Time for the bulldog to find it's feet and it's spirit again. The EU is weak, and is not our friend.

  • rate this

    Comment number 184.


    Have you tried Prozac?

    You live in a depressing world.

  • rate this

    Comment number 183.

    The response by Cameron and Miliband show why this result happened. "We must try harder to win people back", "We must redouble our efforts to get our message out there".
    Well people are fed up with your messages, they have nothing to do with everyday lives. Gay marriage? Lord's reform. Nobody cares outside Westminster.
    Do, don't promise, things to make peoples lives better for a change.

  • rate this

    Comment number 182.

    4 Minutes ago

    You now appear to be competing for the title of incompetent economical fool all on your own
    Heh heh OK then ... bit touchy... :-D
    Just relax were all going to end up bust

  • rate this

    Comment number 181.


    Big problem at next election as Cons and UKIP attempt to form coalition and so do Labour / Dems all sharing equal share of the vote.

    EU attempts to give immigrant workers right to vote in their resident countries after 5 years living there.

    EU hint at benefit recipients relocate in order to receive benefits. (Ethnic cleansing)

    EU pass strict patent laws preventing competition

  • rate this

    Comment number 180.

    steve 156

    You didn't 'warn' about the rise of Ukip (since this implies you take a dim view of it when the opposite is the case). What you did is correctly and hopefully predict it.

    All that's missing is the leather shorts and that's probably just a matter of time.

    And the problem isn't that the main parties are all 'social democrats', it's that they're all deeply small 'c' conservative.

  • rate this

    Comment number 179.

    UKIP may not get a single seat at the next election. But the party that takes power will have to enact their policies. UKIP does not just appeal to disaffected Tories. I voted Labour because Mr Bliar promised a referendum and reneged on that promise. Cameron might do the same and you cant trust a word the Lib Dems say, remember university fees. I do trust Farage on a referendum.

  • rate this

    Comment number 178.

    If any of the politicians had anything about them they would be pursuing policies that promote growth. and create employment. That does not mean throwing money at lost causes but government could be creating jobs improving infrastructure and housing.

    The problem is not immigration it is recession - cure the latter and the former is not an issue - unless you have issues with immigrants.

  • rate this

    Comment number 177.

    #167 lib-dems are on the left tories and the UKIP are on the right that is what is important

  • rate this

    Comment number 176.


    “Anyone who's strongly attracted to Ukip yet claims not to have a well-above-average dose of antipathy and mistrust towards 'jonny foreigner' is almost certainly lying”

    Yes Saga, anyone who sees’s fault with the EU passing laws against our national interest or objects to the flawed ideology of the Euro (currently destroying Greece et al), can only be a racist. I get it now!

  • rate this

    Comment number 175.

    @155 sw
    Not really.

    Cameron has opened his mouth on the Eastleigh result and put his foot in it. Shapps didn't do any better on WATO.

    Now Labour need to be put to the UKIP test.

  • rate this

    Comment number 174.

    Maybe but the horror that was Thatcher is indelibly imprinted on my mind and can not be erased.
    Yep all those years of Margret riding rough shod over the left must have hurt :)
    But my worst memorys is of Brown-- Gordon Brown on my TV every day Cant count how many shoes I threw at that face.
    That guy has ruined many peoples retirement futures.
    Seal Team 6 still available ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 173.


    You now appear to be competing for the title of incompetent economical fool all on your own

  • rate this

    Comment number 172.

    169. sagamix


    To continue with high levels of immigration when there is already high unemployment and under employment, a labor surplus is daft.

    This continual smearing of anyone who is aware of this simple fact isn't going to work.

    It's actually a type of ethnic cleansing. Give it a few years and the unemployed in the EU will be 'asked' to relocate in order to receive meagre benefits.

  • rate this

    Comment number 171.

    Relief, disbelief, despair and concern, are the beebs special correspondents capable of such emotion

  • rate this

    Comment number 170.


    To those of you who think that Lab is the incompetent fools bankrupting this country

    Thatcher Major Govt added 300 billion to the debt

    Blair Brown Govt added 400 billion to the debt

    Cameron Govt has added 400 billion to date

    It’s predicted that it will be 600 bill
    Just shows they should have pulled the plug on the benifits computer as soon as they got in Govt.

  • rate this

    Comment number 169.

    It's not 'simplistic' (Steve, John) to point out that Ukip's appeal owes much to xenophobia. It's simply true.

    Anyone who's strongly attracted to Ukip yet claims not to have a well-above-average dose of antipathy and mistrust towards 'jonny foreigner' is almost certainly lying. Maybe also to themselves.

    Are you two lying to yourselves? Not a capital crime if you are - we all do it sometimes.

  • rate this

    Comment number 168.

    I have occasionally wondered whether DC is in fact not a Conservative at all but is working to destroy the party. His personal experience with his son cannot have failed to have made him aware of and sympathetic to the plight of those who find their lives challenged and the gay marriage thing was frankly bizarre... If so keep up the good work - but they are literally dying out anyway!

  • rate this

    Comment number 167.

    7 Minutes ago
    #154 more voted tory+UKIP than the rest put together


    Totally irrelevant, its also true to say that together the Lib Dems & UKIP polled more than any other party.

    You may not like it but the Lib Dems won by a very repectable margin, especially considering their poor showing in national polls.



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