The UK Independence Party has won a local council by-election in the southern English town of Worthing, defeating the incumbent Liberal Democrats.
The Worthing Herald reports that the election was called after Lib Dem councillor David Potter was expelled for not turning up to a single meeting in six months.
Last night, the party finished a poor third in the Castle ward, with just 15.7 percent of the vote, behind the Conservatives, who won 31.5 percent and UKIP on 36.9.
The victory gives UKIP their second councillor in Worthing after Susan Jellis won the seat of Durrington in May’s local elections. A former Liberal Democrat in mayor also defected to the party in December last year before standing down.
The ward is in the Worthing West parliamentary constituency, currently held by Conservative Sir Peter Bottomley. UKIP have been performing strongly in coastal towns in recent elections, taking votes from both the Conservatives and Labour, with Thanet seen as a key target at the next general election.
Electoral Calculus reports that UKIP could win 17.46 percent of the vote in Worthing at the next election.
Following the announcement that London Mayor Boris Johnson will stand for parliament at next year’s general election, UKIP leader Nigel Farage said that he was “too scared” to stand in a seat where UKIP are strong.
Writing in the Independent, Mr Farage said: “There’s no way Boris will choose to stand in a seat where Ukip is strong. We saw from his speech that he is trying to woo Ukip voters who the Tory party thinks must have all previously been true-blue Tories.
“The fact is that as popular as he is, as funny and charismatic, Boris can’t afford to feel the impact of an unpopular coalition government or an ever-rising purple tide.”
The full results of the by-election are:
UKIP: 568 (36.86 percent)
Con: 485 (31.47 percent)
Lib Dem: 242 (15.7 percent)
Lab: 197 (12.78 percent)
Green: 49 (3.18 percent)