Local elections: Nigel Farage hails results as a 'game changer'


Nigel Farage, UKIP: "We've been abused by everyone, and now they're shocked and stunned"

UKIP leader Nigel Farage has hailed gains in council elections across England as a "game changer".

UKIP won over 140 seats and averaged 25% of the vote in the wards where it was standing.

The Conservatives lost control of 10 councils, but retained 18, while Labour gained two councils and boosted its councillors by nearly 300.

David Cameron said he would "work really hard to win back" supporters who had decided to vote for UKIP.

Contests took place in 27 English county councils and seven unitary authorities, as well as in Anglesey. About 2,300 council seats were up for grabs in England, in a major mid-term test for the coalition government.

Four party politics

The BBC's projected national share of the vote put Labour in the lead with 29% of the vote and the Conservatives in second place with 25%, UKIP in third place with 23% of votes and the Lib Dems fourth with 14%.

An estimate from a BBC sample of key wards suggests that average turnout was 31%, down 10 points from the last local elections in 2009.

BBC political editor Nick Robinson said the vote shares confirmed four party politics were at play in these elections, but it was still unclear if this would carry through to a general election.

Projected national share of the vote After almost 1,500 key wards declared

Responding to the success of UKIP, Prime Minister David Cameron said: "We need to show respect for people who have taken the choice to support this party and we are going to work really hard to win them back."

In other developments:

The Tories were defending thousands of seats last fought in 2009 - when they were in opposition and when Labour had its worst night in local election history.

They retained control of traditional council strongholds like Wiltshire, Shropshire, West Sussex, Buckinghamshire, Essex, Dorset, Hampshire and Hertfordshire, as well as Somerset and Devon.

Start Quote

It is the day UKIP emerged as a real political force in the land”

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But they lost their majorities on 10 of their councils, which moved to no overall control, as both Labour and UKIP made gains.

Nearly 10,000 candidates were battling for seats in English county councils and unitary authorities - "top-tier" authorities in charge of schools, roads, refuse collection and fire and rescue among other services.

Labour made progress in the Midlands, taking control of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire county councils, both of which it lost in 2009.

It also made double digit gains in Staffordshire, Cumbria, Warwickshire, Suffolk and Hertfordshire.

UKIP surge

The most eye-catching performance was from UKIP, which is riding high in the opinion polls and fielded 1,700 candidates, three times the number that stood in 2009, when the party won just seven council seats.

The party became the official opposition in Kent, where it won 17 councillors, Lincolnshire, where it won 16 councillors and Norfolk, where it won 15 councillors.

It took seats in councils like Essex and Hampshire, where it previously had no councillors, but failed to pick up any seats in a number of councils including Hertfordshire, Warwickshire, North Yorkshire, Lancashire, Cumbria and Derbyshire.

Map showing UKIP councillor wins

The party, which campaigns for the UK to leave the European Union, polled 11 points higher, on average, than in wards where it stood in 2009.

UKIP's Nigel Farage told the BBC the party had taken its "first substantial step towards a party that can credibly win seats at Westminster".

'Major lesson'

"It's a fascinating day for British politics. Something has changed here.

"I know that everyone would like to say that it's just a little short-term, stamp your feet protest - it isn't. There's something really fundamental that has happened here.

David Cameron: "It's no good insulting a political party that people have chosen to vote for"

"People have had enough of three main parties, who increasingly resemble each other. The differences between them are very narrow and they don't even speak the same language that ordinary folk out there, who are struggling with housing and jobs, speak."

He said the results put UKIP in a "very strong position" in the run-up to the next general election, but acknowledged that "when it comes to a general election we do have a problem, which is the first-past-the-post election system".

He confirmed on BBC Radio Kent that he would stand as a candidate at the next general election. In 2010 he unsuccessfully contested Speaker John Bercow's seat of Buckingham.

David Cameron said the gains made by UKIP were a "major lesson" for the three main Westminster parties.

"For the Conservatives I understand why some people who have supported us before didn't support us again, they want us to do even more to work for hard-working people to sort out the issues they care about," he said.

"More to help with the cost of living, more to turn the economy round, more to get immigration down, to sort out the welfare system. They will be our focus, they are our focus, but we have got to do more."


Labour leader Ed Miliband said he was pleased with his party's results but acknowledged the party still had more work to do.

He told the BBC: "I also recognise - having gone round the country during this campaign - the vote for UKIP, the two thirds of people who didn't vote, that there are still lots of people saying can anyone turn this country round? I believe Labour can and we're carrying on that work to convince people that we can."

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg said it was "understandable" that people would be attracted to the "simple answers" UKIP was offering.

"But I don't think they do have answers to the dilemmas we face as a country," he said. "I believe that the Liberal Democrats do, that our message that we need to build a stronger economy and do so as fairly as possible, enabling everyone to get on in life is the right message for the future."

Education Secretary Michael Gove, asked what he thought about a councillor's call for a new Conservative leader, said the idea was "barmy" and "bonkeroony".

No elections took place in London, Scotland, Northern Ireland or anywhere in Wales other than Anglesey.

VOTE 2013
Party English Councils Councillors
Total Change +/- Total Change +/-
CON 18 -10 1116 -335
LAB 3 2 538 291
LD 0 0 352 -124
UKIP 0 0 147 139
GRN 0 0 22 5
OTH 0 0 187 24
NOC 13 8 N/A N/A

After 34 of 34 councils declared

All results for England & Wales


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  • rate this

    Comment number 1177.

    1132. Dryad1313
    Why have the BBC given UKIP the main headline when the biggest swing was to Labour, who won more than double of new seats than UKIP"

    Because in terms of votes gained, UKIP have been phenomenal.

    The 3 main parties dictate and lead by their own rules and ideologies treat their public with disdain & contempt and like cattle to be poked & prodded & lied to...and we've had enough

  • rate this

    Comment number 1176.

    The Tories probably know they need to get rid of Cameron and Osborne.

    However, given the likelihood of 2015 general election losses, who would want to take over the party now? As it stands Cameron will get blamed, resign, someone else will have 5 years to rebuild.

    If someone takes over now they get 2 years in power, then blamed and resign, career over!

  • rate this

    Comment number 1175.

    1161.Lancashire Lyndsey says: "
    Just now
    No-one has dared to say that this UKIP swing has anything to do with the so-called re-definition of marriage.."

    Come on, my wife is devout catholic and opposes same sex marriage, there's no way that she would vote for the "Auslander Raus!" party though.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1174.

    Mr Cameron, please realise that no amount of rhetoric is going to win votes back from UKIP.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1173.

    What do UKIP stand for? (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-22396690)

    Out of Europe, more Nuclear power, no renewable energy, more spending on defence, change the education system (yet again!), put more people into prison, reduce taxes, reduce public spending, expansion of Manston airport(??), aloow smoking in pubs, etc.

    Yeah, let's do it!!! (Everyone got their emigration papers ready?)

  • rate this

    Comment number 1172.

    If this economic depression continues for much longer you can forget about UKIP, Lab, Con and Lib. There will be very serious disturbance and developments on the streets where conventional politics will look like kindergarten.

    Desperate, jobless, hungry folk, will be taking matters into their own hands. Westminster men in suits had better scuttle for cover, There will be a rat hunt underway!

  • rate this

    Comment number 1171.

    Not good for Tories, but not unexpected given the prolonged recession. Very bad for Labour. Given the continued economic mess it must have expected to do much better to have a chance of forming the next government.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1170.

    I find it interesting that the main argument against UKIP is they are simply 'racist'.

    If they feel that strongly about it maybe from their moral high-ground they can get their parties to agree to a referendum on EU membership and we'll see how many in the country actually agree with them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1169.

    Looks like all the Daily Mail readers voted yesterday, then. Have any of you who voted UKIP actually READ their manifesto?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1168.

    I voted UKIP because they speak common sense in a world thats completely lost the plot. I like the way that they will not pander to EU dictators and stand up for our laws and priviledges. I did not vote as a 'protest', I voted bacause all the other parties are the same. Long may they thrive and grow!

  • rate this

    Comment number 1167.

    This is more than a "Wake up call", it's a call to arms, and the vote is our weapon of choice.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1166.

    It's no surprise UKIP are doing well, they have a charismatic leader, and alternative polices to the main three. I don't agree with a lot of what they have to say, but I'm glad the debate is being had.

    Concerning the EU, the possibility of a referendum at some point just isn't good enough, businesses are not going to invest in the UK if they can't be sure of our trade status in 5 years.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1165.

    The revolting UKIP man who said disabled children should be put has been voted back in. I hope the people who voted UKIP are proud , they should hang their heads in shame.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1164.

    jpublic "How many reading this are nervous when they board a plane or go to certain multicultural parts of the UK?"

    I'm not really left wing but asserting all that accusatory drivel was just laughable and pathetic.
    As for the quote I highlighted, I am not afraid of multicultural areas, because I am not a paranoid coward voting for a party to soothe my cowardice by removing the 'scary immigrants'

  • rate this

    Comment number 1163.

    I'm surprised at the lack of commentary on the fact that the UKIP out-polled Lib-Dem by almost 2:1. Doesn't this suggest that it isn't just conservatives who are switching? UKIP is now neck and neck with Labour.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1162.

    @1003. Milestogo
    How many of them do you know? They are the only party to have sensible policies on a wide range of issues including europe. They are the only party to argue in favour of ditching the huge costs - including the decommissioning of the coal fired power stations we desperately need - and to revert to a trading relationship with the EU similar to the one with China, Africa, Russia...

  • rate this

    Comment number 1161.

    No-one has dared to say that this UKIP swing has anything to do with the so-called re-definition of marriage. What people may feel coerced to say in public is very different to what they think in the polling booth, clearly.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1160.

    I don't see the point of voting for any of them. The idea that a British politician is inherently more able, qualified or morally motivated to do the best for Britain, rather than a European politician is, in my opinion, false. UKIP, Conservative, Labour, Lib Dem none of them are worth the cost of a ballot paper IMO

  • rate this

    Comment number 1159.

    Come Come now thanks for pointing that typo out,
    QUITE RIGHT ITS £700 BILLION NOT £700M sorry.
    Thats why the total is £1.4 Trillion Nat Debt estimated by 2015
    Its such a huge figurethat any further austerity measures by coalition ukip or lab can make much impact on. It will all go wrong as soon as interest rates rise.Debt repayment cost will then be unpayable.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1158.

    @1092 what an utterly stupid comparison


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