UK Politics

UKIP leader says they 'will replace Liberal Democrats'

The UKIP candidate in Barnsley (third from right) came second while the Lib Dems came sixth
Image caption The UKIP candidate in Barnsley came second while the Lib Dems came sixth

The leader of the UK Independence Party, Nigel Farage, says his party's aim is to replace the Liberal Democrats as the third force in British politics.

He was speaking at UKIP's spring conference in Scarborough, buoyed by the party's strong showing in the Barnsley Central by-election this week.

UKIP candidate Jane Collins came second with the Lib Dems' George Carman sixth.

Mr Farage said: "The Lib Dems are no longer the voice of opposition in British politics - we are."

"Between now and the next general election our aim is to replace them as the third party in British politics," he added.

Image caption Mr Farage survived a plane crash on election day last year

Mr Farage resumed leadership of the party last year, replacing Lord Pearson who stepped down after nine months in charge.

'Busted flush'

Labour won the by-election with a majority of 11,771 over UKIP but Mr Farage said the Liberal Democrats were now, electorally a "busted flush" - and he claimed the Barnsley result was a sign of things to come.

"We've proved it before in Euro elections but now we've come second in a by-election," Mr Farage told delegates in Scarborough.

He said: "This is not a one-off result, this is a springboard and we will go on from here to fight a thousand council seats and contest in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland."

"The EU is no longer an academic debate because it's affecting people in their everyday lives: it is now discussed by families at their dinner table," Mr Farage said.

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