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UKIP Will Be "Serious Players" At The General Election Says Nigel Farage

Nigel Farage savouring UKIP electoral success
Nigel Farage savouring UKIP electoral success
Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Unsurprisingly, given the success in the local council elections today Nigel Farage, the leader of the UK Independence Party, has said that he is certain that UKIP will be "serious players" at the general election in Britain in a years' time. As an example of the success UKIP has gained 107 seats on local councils at this election which is 100 more than they had before. And this is before all of the councils have released their polling results.

There's also still to come the announcement of the results for the European Parliament elections. The polling was held yesterday, alongside the local council one, but the results cannot be released until Sunday as other European countries still have to vote (the background is that UK elections are always held on Thursdays, while some other countries always have theirs on a Saturday or Sunday). And the result of that election is expected to be that UKIP has topped the poll, putting Labour into second. And there's a good chance that the Liberal Democrats will see their vote collapse sufficiently to lose all of their seats.

The big question now for UKIP is whether this momentum can be kept going until the general election in May next year, Farage is adamant that it can be:

UKIP leader Nigel Farage has said his party will be "serious players" at the 2015 general election, in with a chance of securing representation in the House of Commons for the first time. As results came in from England's local elections, showing gains for UKIP across the country, he said: "The UKIP fox is in the Westminster hen house."

The party's support always rises at the time of the European elections and then trails off a little. But every time this has happened it has fallen back less and then risen back up again further. A reasonable estimate, a benchmark if you like, would be that support will drop back down to about 20%, just as a result of the euro-elections being over.

The big question is whether UKIP can add even just a little to that. A 20% share of the vote would translate, in the UK's electoral system and given the wide geographic spread of support, into a handful of seats at best. But a 24 or 25% share would lead to significant representation in the next parliament.