Speaking to the media moments ago, UKIP leader Nigel Farage reflected on his party’s successes over the past 12 hours, and the notion that UKIP’s surge is simply “a protest vote” as so many have claimed.
Farage, who was in Thurrock in Essex – where UKIP picked up 5 seats from both Labour and Conservatives – said that the mainstream media and ‘legacy’ parties have described the UKIP vote as a protest vote for many years.
“They said it in 2009, they said it after Eastleigh [by-election], they said it after the County Council elections last year, and they will say it again after last night…”
But, he said, if it is indeed a protest vote, “it looks like a fairly permanent protest!”
UKIP has so far picked up 91 seats across the country, as Labour gained just 128, and the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have lost 115 seats each.
At this point, the counting has reach around one third of the total number of councils yet to declare across the UK.