After Douglas Carswell’s historic win in yesterday’s Clacton by-election, the Reuters news agency says that Prime Minister and Conservative Leader David Cameron now faces a serious challenge in dealing with UKIP. With British voters becoming increasingly disillusioned with the mainstream parties, UKIP is taking votes left, right and centre, with the problem still particularly bad for the Conservatives. If they continue losing support to the anti-EU party, Cameron could soon find himself out of office.
Britain’s anti-EU UK Independence Party won its first elected seat in parliament on Friday by a landslide and came a close second in another vote, proving it poses a threat to the country’s two main parties in a national election next year.
UKIP, which wants a British EU withdrawal and strict curbs on immigration, was expected to do well in both votes. But the unexpectedly wide margin of its victory in the seaside town of Clacton and its strong performance in an election in northern England, which it almost won too, came as a surprise.
In Clacton, it won 60 percent of the vote after the sitting parliamentarian for Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservatives defected to UKIP, which didn’t put up a candidate for the area when it was last contested in 2010.
In Heywood and Middleton, in northern England, a traditional stronghold for the opposition Labour party, UKIP got almost 39 percent of the vote, up from less than 3 percent in 2010.
“There is nothing that we cannot achieve,” Douglas Carswell, Clacton’s new UKIP member of parliament, told supporters.
Quoting Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and the words of John Wycliffe, a 14th Century dissident translator of the bible into English, Carswell said he backed “government of the people, by the people, for the people.”
“The governing can no longer presume to know what is right for the governed,” he said immediately after he was declared the winner. “Crony corporatism is not the free market. Cosy cartel politics is not meaningful democracy. Change is coming.”
There is little prospect for now of UKIP winning more than a half a dozen of 650 seats in a national election in May next year. But its success threatens to split the center-right vote and chip away at the traditional left-wing vote too making it harder for any one party to win an outright majority.
Read the rest at Reuters