- UKIP candidate Diane James came second with 27.8% of the vote
- She was just 1,771 votes behind Liberal Democrat victor Mike Thornton
- Nigel Farage accused of killing UKIP’s chances of winning the seat by not standing himself
00:09, 2 March 2013
00:09, 2 March 2013
Facing criticism: UKIP leader Nigel Farage has been accused of costing the party its first Westminster seat by not standing in the Eastleigh by-election himself after candidate Diane James came second
Nigel Farage was forced to face down claims yesterday that his refusal to run in the Eastleigh by-election cost his party its first Westminster seat.
UKIP candidate Diane James stormed from behind on a wave of protest votes to take second place in the poll. She won 27.8 per cent of the vote to finish just 1,771 votes behind Liberal Democrat victor Mike Thornton.
But her leader, who said his party was on the verge of causing a ‘national political earthquake’, faced the charge that his decision not to run had killed any chance of UKIP winning the seat.
Mr Farage said the result, UKIP’s
best in a Westminster election, was a ‘very significant step forward’
and boasted that they had hoovered up votes from all three main parties.
He claimed that UKIP had persuaded voters disillusioned by mainstream
politics to go out to vote for the first time in ‘20 or 30 years’.
Farage, by far the best-known figure in UKIP, had been expected to
stand, not least because he was the party’s first-ever candidate in the
1994 Eastleigh by-election.
while in 2010 UKIP received just three per cent of the national vote,
Mr Farage picked up 17.4 per cent when he stood against Speaker John
Bercow in Buckingham. And recent polls put UKIP 1 per cent ahead of the
Lib Dems nationally, at 9 per cent.
whether he had ‘bottled it’ yesterday, Mr Farage said: ‘I have been
accused of many, many sins and most of them are true but I could never
be accused of bottling anything in my life. I wouldn’t have done any
better than Diane did.’
‘We are not a one man band’: UKIP leader Nigel Farage said he wouldn’t have done any better than candidate Diane James
Scraped through: Mike Thornton, pictured with his wife Peta Thornton at the Eastleigh by-election count, won his seat by just 1,771 votes
Farage maintained that if he had been the candidate it would have
reinforced criticism that Ukip is a ‘one-man band’. ‘We are not a
one-man band, I intend to lead this party into the European elections in
June next year, when we will take the tremor we have created in
Eastleigh and turn it into a national political earthquake,’ he said.
I stood and I had got more votes and be going to the House of Commons, I
would not have been able to lead the party as a candidate in the
European elections next year. I believe its in those elections we will
come first and cause a real earthquake in British politics.’
UKIP’s success opens the possibility that the party could cost the Tories dozens of seats at the next general election.
Gloomy faces: David Cameron admitted the defeat of Tory candidate Maria Hutchings, pictured at an event during the campaign, was ‘disappointing’
Dog’s dinner: The Tories had named Eastleigh as one of its top 40 target seats for a majority in 2015, but the campaign was overwhelmed by a surging UKIP
Mr Farage said the Tories should lay the blame for their defeat firmly at the door of David Cameron, and added that it was “unlikely” that UKIP would consider a pact with them as long as he remains their leader.
‘The Conservatives failed here because traditional Tory voters look at Cameron and they ask themselves, “Is he a Conservative?” and they conclude, “No, he’s not”,’ he said.
‘He’s talking about gay marriage, wind turbines, unlimited immigration from India. He wants Turkey to join the European Union. The Conservatives’ problems are not because of UKIP, it’s because of their leader.’
UKIP leader Nigel Farage and Eastleigh candidate Diane James celebrates the party’s second place finish in the by-election
All smiles: UKIP leader Nigel Farage emerged as one of the big winners of the night, claiming the result had ‘stunned the establishment’
Did UKIP leader Nigel Farage blow his chance to become an MP by refusing to … – Daily Mail
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