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 246.

    Farage is wetting himself in case he really wins any election as that means he'll actually have to come up with realistic policies.He can't copy the Tories, let alone Labour / LibDems, so who is left? The BNP, who have even less of anything even closely resembling a policy?

  • rate this

    Comment number 245.

    188 ovalball "We as a nation will be considerably more in debt when this lot have finished and they will have cut considerably every single public service we have"

    Here's a fact for you: the debt Blair inherited in 97 had taken over 300 years to accumulate; Blair/Brown doubled it in just 13 years. Cuts to services now are the result of Labour's economics of the heroin addict - more, more, more...

  • rate this

    Comment number 244.

    Personally I like being in the EU and generally people that want out are not very smart that's wht they follow someone like Farage who is some kind of secondhand car sales man or a double glazing salesman who sacres old ladies into buying double glazing a serious politician he is not

  • rate this

    Comment number 243.

    239. fleche_dor - Do you even understand the definition of facist? 241.
    rationalist - Oh I think I do. Would you please furnish me/us with a rational explanation why we are refused a referendum when it is plainly obvious to the most thick amongst us (even you), that is what is wanted. With one stroke the question of in or out would be resolved. Thought not.

  • rate this

    Comment number 242.

    #220 Distant Traveller

    The EU's accounting system is more rigorous than any in Member States and is subject to annual public audit & parliament scrutiny.

    80% of EU funding is disbursed within Member States: any discrepancies arise in the UK. This week it reclaimed c£90m of UK misspent CAP funds.

  • rate this

    Comment number 241.

    Yes, they came second. A party that is very publicly pro Europe came first. It was never a 'safe' seat-look it up. There are plenty of people opposed to the EU, as we have seen, but it would be a mistake to jump to the conclusion that they represent the majority view. As we saw here, they do not in Eastleigh. (Incidentally, I don't think you know anything at all about my ilk)

  • rate this

    Comment number 240.

    210 Matt. Then you misunderstand Political history. The Manifesto of the GWP was for a one party totalitarian state, the reason being that to recover from recession it would require 100 percent concentration. Far from Lebensraum the UKIP advocate withdrawal back to National borders. You forget also that a single party state requires the military on board. Good luck with that.

  • rate this

    Comment number 239.

    A referendum pledge gamble has yet to pay electoral dividends.

    Tory Telegraph columnist, Dan Hannan MEP quickly called for a Tory/UKIP election pact. Uncertainty surrounds the coalition government & its pledge to sort the economy out in the national interest.

    Cameron's stark choice: A pact with UKIP & end the coalition, or take on UKIP & his Europhobes.

    UKIP's associates: neo-fascist parties

  • rate this

    Comment number 238.

    No mention of UKIP candidates name ?

    And I thought the BBC were aware of feminist issues and side-lining women ?

    Maybe not . . anyway, notice how Diane James, the UKIP candidate was the best dressed ? Doesn't surprise me, well dressed folk usually have their crap sorted out, unlike 'original sin' ashamed to be British, Lib Dems and their followers.

  • rate this

    Comment number 237.

    233.All for All.
    I'm not talking about UKIP but those ultra right wing fascists who infest our local newspaper's internet forum..
    By "nasty" I meant sexist, homophobic, islamophobic and racist.

  • rate this

    Comment number 236.

    235. rationalist - Perhaps because one of the most safe seats in the UK ended up with such a reduced majority and a so-called insignificant party as the UKIP came second. God forbid people of your ilk come to power, oh wait!!!!!!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 235.

    I am struggling to understand why the election success of the most europhile party is seen by many of those posting on this site as a statement of support for leaving the EU

  • rate this

    Comment number 234.

    210 Matt "UKIP are gaining support from the same people the National Socialist German Workers' Party gained support from in the 1920's: the ultra right-wing and the poor, uneducated, unintelligent left-wing"

    I find this sort of arrogance absolutely astonishing! That anyone who might not subscribe to the utopian dream of the EU must be a Nazi or stupid, or both. Unbelievable.

  • rate this

    Comment number 233.

    bonnysdad @228
    In perspective

    Have 'we' not all 'been there': painfully evolved from amoeba to Man; more or less socialised from 'born ignorant' to 'aware'; more or less 'democratised', from history & imagination?

    Perhaps 1-3% have special difficulty, psycho-sociopathic: but, given security, PLACE in generally understood & agreed Equal Partnership, few will find unhappiness 'living well'

  • rate this

    Comment number 232.

    #151 "Some of us can remember the horror that was Thatcher"

    Can't remember him. But wasn't there a female PM by that name? Easily the greatest politician of my lifetime. Can't see any challenger at the moment.

  • rate this

    Comment number 231.

    All bull Nick.
    You and your fellow apologists for the mess LaLa Labour left us and our children make many feel sick.
    Pontificating twits.
    We had enough of self interested groups spinning, lying propaganda taking us for fools.
    What Labours liars did was to rip the heart out our country and pontificating ego's telling otherwise, make me and many others both seriously concerned and nauseous.

  • rate this

    Comment number 230.

    @218 m-i-w-c
    Unfortunately, the good electors of Eastleigh were not brave enough to vote in significant numbers for an independent.

  • rate this

    Comment number 229.

    "need 'human' politicians"
    (omnipresent & omniscient)

    For 'democracy', need our freedom
    Freedom to act & speak in conscience
    ONLY possible in Equal Partnership
    No 'one plan' beyond Equal Liberty

    "power rests with the people"
    In dreams, or in reality
    Reality: ONLY in agreed Equal Partnership
    Worth thought, beyond rejection
    Beware 'anti-parental' Object Relations

  • rate this

    Comment number 228.

    224. Carse.
    There's plenty of real fascists out there Carse.
    The internet forum of our local evening newspaper here in the North East is full of them. Some days it's like a virtual Nuremberg Rally.
    They may be in a minority but they are a vociferous minority, spreading their particularly nasty brand of hatred to anyone stupid and impressionable enough to believe them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 227.

    Putting fingers in ears and going la la la???, all the media has been in a feeding frenzy all week. I am surprised the voters in Eastleigh didn't close their doors and lock them with all the media people going ga ga.

    This goes to show that the media has nothing better to do than follow elections as if they can manipulate the outcome. Frighten the horses more like


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