By Deborah Ayoade
Having not yet recovered from the political “earthquake” Nigel Farage and his political party the United Kingdom Independent Party (UKIP) unleashed in the concluded local elections, Ukip set about another blow to Westminster’s established parties, after storming to victory in the European parliamentary elections.
This is the first time since 1984 that both Labour and the Conservative parties have failed to win the British national election. As the Eurosceptic party, Ukip won 24 MEPs. This triumph leaves them with the large majority of seats in the EU Parliament across British politics.
Labour not falling far behind managed to claim 20 MEPs and in third place the Tories with held on to 18 MEPs.
Sundays results illustrate a possible increase in support for Farage and his party’s policies. During the last European election in 2009 the party only acquired 13 seats. Although this year we see a big increase in supporters as the party managed to secure almost double the amount of seats they held.
Ukip’s gains however, is a loss to another and in this case the losing party was the Liberal Democrats who lost all but one of their 11 MEPs, leaving its share in the national votes at 7%. Ukip now replaces the Liberal Democrats as the third leading party in British politics. Such dire results caused some senior party activists to call for Nick Clegg’s Resignation as party leader.
UK Independent Party (UKIP) – 23 MEPs
Labour – 20 MEPs
Conservative – 18 MEPs
Green – 3 MEPs Liberal Democrats – 1 MEP
In wake of the published results Farage proudly said “My dream has become a reality. The British people have stood firm, they have backed Ukip and we have won a national election. Everyone keeps saying it’s the high tide mark for Ukip. I think the party has got real momentum behind it.”, in addition, he predicted that in light of the results “We may well see one party leader forced out of his position and another to reconsider his policy of opposition to a referendum on Europe, and David Cameron will have to take a much tougher negotiating stance. It is now not beyond the bounds of possibility that we hold the balance of power in another hung parliament.”
Except for some urban regions, Ukip polled strongly across the country. In this instance The Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties must recognise this powerful historic moment; The moment that a party only established 21 years ago managed to beat parties that date back more than 100 years in a national election.
This means that many of the main parties will have to sit down and reflect and understand the future threat that Farage places on their party and policies. Some party members are urging their leaders to make a possible pact with Ukip for the 2015 general election. In response to this Tory leader David Cameron said “Conservative candidates will stand as Conservatives, fight as Conservatives and, I hope, win as Conservatives. We are not going to be doing deals and pacts,” therefore, ruling out any form of pact making.
Many have indicated that results from this years national election, could be a possible reflection of what is to come during the 2015 general election. Many of the opposing parties argue that the European election is not a guide to what will happen in the general elections. Despite disappointing national results, Ed Miliband maintains that Labour was still in a position where they can win the general election.
Only time will tell of the potential threat that Ukip poses to the main three Westminster established parties.