May 2015, UKIP in the East

Despite accruing an impressive number of votes nationally, UKIP’s performance in the May General election was distinctly underwhelming. They entered the election with two MPs, and halved that on exit.

This was their big chance. Last year they ‘won’ a national election insofar as they got the most votes in the European elections. They entered this year on a wave of hype, and some quite friendly media coverage. They were boosted by the increasingly pluralistic state of most ballot papers, ensuring that relatively modest vote shares was all that was required.

Back in the day of genuine two-party politics half the vote was required to guarantee success – nowadays MPs are regularly elected with less than 40% of the votes cast. Yet UKIP stumbled, stuttered, and failed. The coming EU referendum will rob UKIP of their prime reason for existence. Will they matter anymore, will they figure in the next General Election? Only time will tell.

They stood candidates in all fifty-eight East of England constituencies in May, and retained their deposit in every one of them.

The top five UKIP performances in the East:

44.4% Clacton
31.7% Thurrock
31.2% Castle Point
26.5% South Basildon and East Thurrock
23.3% South West Norfolk

The worst performances in the East:

5.2% Cambridge
7.8% St Albans
8.9% Hitchin and Harpenden
9.4% Norwich South
9.6% Bedford

Thirteen second places and one win may be considered good enough, and if this election is considered a builder event then I guess it could be. However, if the referendum poses a question about the future of the UK it also poses a question about the future of UKIP, or more properly whether UKIP has a future.

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2 Responses to May 2015, UKIP in the East

  1. davidmbrichardson says:

    I would regard it as dangerous to democracy that such a sizeable body of opinion ends up with only one MP. Similarly as regards the Greens. Would you agree that the introduction of a proportional electoral system is so important that Labour should pledge to implement it in government – with no shilly-shallying about a referendum.

  2. I am an electoral reformer, a member of both the ERS and LCER. I would be content with AV if PR was used to elect the second chamber. We need change.

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