UK Politics

An Independence from Europe 'costs UKIP a seat'

Mike Nattrass
Image caption Mr Nattrass has likened Mr Farage's UKIP to a "one-man party"

UKIP has claimed they missed out on an extra seat in the European Parliament because of votes going to a party with a similar name.

In the South West region, 23,000 votes went to a new Eurosceptic party called An Independence From Europe.

The group was formed earlier this year by former UKIP members including ex-MEP Mike Nattrass.

UKIP protested to the Electoral Commission at the time and has not ruled out seeking a judicial review.

Mr Nattrass, who was deselected by UKIP in 2013, previously defended his choice of name for the party, arguing: "UKIP does not have sole right to the word independence."

The new party, whose name appeared first on the alphabetical-order ballot paper, put up a full slate of candidates and came seventh with 235,124 votes, or 1.5% of the total cast.

That put it ahead of more established parties including the BNP and the English Democrats, although it got no MEPs elected,

A spokesman for the Electoral Commission said in April the watchdog did not believe that either the name of Mr Nattrass's party, or its description, were confusing or offensive - which are the key legal tests political parties have been made to pass before they can compete in elections since a change to the law in 1998.

At least two other UKIP defectors failed to get elected - Marta Andreasen in the South East region, standing as a Conservative and Nikki Sinclaire in the West Midlands, standing for the We Demand A Referendum party.