UKIP local election WIPE OUT!

Joe Mulhall - 05 05 17

With most of the results now in it is clear these local elections have been nothing short of a disaster of UKIP.

Even in areas that it has long targeted, such as Essex, Lincolnshire, Hampshire and Kent, the party has been all but wiped out.

UKIP has lost more than 130 seats – every one it was defending so far, gaining a solitary seat from Labour in Lancashire

The results in Lincolnshire – where UKIP lost all 10 seats – will be especially worrying for party leader, Paul Nuttall, who is standing in Boston and Skegness at next month’s General Election.

The scale of the collapse cannot be overstated. The BBC’s polling shows UKIP’s vote has fallen 5%, down from 22% in 2013.

The poor results led Douglas Carswell, the party’s former MP for Clacton, to remark to the BBC that he was glad to see the demise of his former party.

I’m absolutely delighted with this result…. There are a lot of good people in Ukip, and I would not want to say anything unkind, but we all know that it’s over. Let’s be frank: I would be surprised if Ukip manages to field more than 100 candidates at the general election …

Peter Reeve, the party’s local government spokesman, has attempted to placate supporters and downplay the disastrous results:

“Even if we don’t win a single seat later on today, Ukip still has 300 councillors across the country and is still a very relevant, real voice in local politics.”

While it is absolutely true that they will have 300 councillors remaining by the end of today, the idea that the party continues to “very relevant” is wishful thinking. Placed in the context of long-term decline these results likely mark the point of no-return for UKIP as an electoral force.

No time for complacency 

However, while we should all take some time to enjoy the collapse of UKIP, and congratulate the thousands of people up and down the country that have worked tirelessly to challenge their prejudiced politics, we cannot and should not be complacent.

Just as these voters have switched to the Tories in the belief that it will deliver economic prosperity and a sharp reduction in immigration through a hard Brexit, so they could just as easily switch back – or switch to another hard-right party (such as Arron Banks and Nigel Farage’s proposed new venture) – if this is not achieved. If that happens then this vote could be even angrier and more susceptible to the anti-establishment populism.

Today marks a defeat for UKIP, but sadly not a defeat for the views it espouses. In the wake of Brexit, which saw the unprecedented normalisation of prejudiced politics, UKIP has been squeezed out. Around issues such as immigration, multiculturalism, and Islam and Muslims, we have witnessed a mainstreaming of views traditionally confined to the margins of political discourse.

An interesting (if not identical) historical parallel is the 1979 General Election, when Margaret Thatcher infamously said Britain was being “swamped” by immigrant cultures. This neutered the electoral threat from the National Front (NF) at the time. Just as the subsequent decline of the NF didn’t mean the end of the racist politics it supported, the imminent collapse of UKIP doesn’t mean the end of its radical right politics or the prejudices it has sought to exploit.

Rivals in the wings

And indeed, while UKIP loyalists and members will no doubt be upset by today’s results, a small coterie of former leading members are already revelling in its electoral collapse. Former UKIP funder Aaron Banks and his sidekick, Leave.EU communications director Andy Wigmore, will see UKIP’s collapse as the ground being cleared for the launch of their new project, The Patriotic Alliance.

Wigmore has already tweeted: “Time @Arron_banks for the @TPA52 [The Patriotic Alliance].”

His boss Arron Banks landed an even crueller blow about the election results, saying that former leader Nigel Farage ”was a skilled driver who drove the car around the track faster and faster, knowing when to take risks, delighting the audience”. Paul Nuttall, meanwhile, had ”crashed the car, at the first bend of the race, into the crowd, killing the driver and spectators”.

While UKIP may well be on the ropes, the battle goes on to challenge the poisonous rhetoric and ideology it has helped spread.


Stay informed

Sign up for emails from HOPE not hate to make sure you stay up to date with the latest news, and to receive simple actions you can take to help spread HOPE.


We couldn't do it without our supporters

Fund research, counter hate and support and grow inclusive communities by donating to HOPE not hate today

I am looking for...


Useful links

Close Search X
Donate to HOPE not hate