UKIP tested in forthcoming elections
UKIP's 2010 election campaign - but how will the party fare in the forthcoming May elections?
The UK Independence Party has very excitedly announced that four more local councillors have decided to join its ranks.
Three Independents on Tendring District Council (including one husband and wife team) now intend to sit as UKIP councillors.
While on Thurrock Council a disaffected Conservative, Stuart St-Clair Haslam (who had already left the Conservative group on the council) has also decided to throw in his lot with UKIP.
The defections come at an interesting time for the party, following UKIP's second place in last week's Barnsley by-election.
Within Conservative circles there is increasing speculation at the moment about whether the party, now once again under the high-profile leadership of Nigel Farage, could become a threat for the Tories.
The thinking goes that with the Liberal Democrats now in Government, there is no obvious home for protest voters, and with the BNP in disarray, those who feel strongly about immigration also have nowhere to go.
The party is being warned not to ignore the UKIP threat from within its own ranks and that pursuing a liberalising agenda could be a mistake.
UKIP is unable to give us the number of councillors who have defected to it over the last few years. But according to our records the party only has 10 councillors across the whole of the East. The largest number, two, is on Huntingdonshire District Council.
With such small numbers the party is not going to make much, if any, impact on our town halls. But the party and some Conservatives believe that things could be happening to UKIP's support.
The forthcoming local elections will be the test.