Posted by: admin in Legal Issues on December 3rd, 2012

The UK Independence Party has beaten the Conservatives in by-elections in the Yorkshire towns of Middlesbrough and Rotherham. Notably, the latter is the centre of attention over an ongoing row over accusations of racism after a local couple had their children taken off them because, allegedly, they were members of UKIP. The children were from an EU migrant background, and the councils reasoning was the UKIP has a notably anti-EU stance. The row has, nevertheless, undoubtedly contributed to the rise in popularity of the party.

Farage – UKIP on the up

Nigel Farage, the leader of UKIP, was ebullient about his party’s increased successes:

“Our previous best-ever by-election result, a fortnight ago, was 14.3 percent and this one is comfortably over 20 percent,” he told the BBC, adding “Whichever way you look at it, UKIP is on the rise.”

The two towns are notable Labour strongholds, and the British National Party is also popular in Rotherham where it, too, gained more votes than the Conservative candidate. Notably, the Liberal Democrats were embarrassed in Rotherham, with a local vicar, standing as an independent, getting more votes than their chosen candidate.

No Presence in Parliament

The UK’s voting system is a common bar to fringe parties, and so far UKIP does not have a presence in parliament, but there are concerns among the Tory party elite that UKIP could pose a threat in the 2015 election, with right-wing voters becoming increasingly disappointed with David Cameron’s party. It is feared that UKIP could take votes away from the Tories, making it harder for them to keep the equilibrium they currently have. Quite clearly, the voters in these two northern towns – and in Rotherham in particular – are ready for an alternative, and with the BNP having a sullied reputation it could be that UKIP will garner even more support.

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