UKIP Uncovered
What motivates the leaders of the United Kingdom Independence Party?

Sunday, May 08, 2005 

The UKIP Effect

As has been well described and detailed on the blog EU Referendum linked here, in spite of the totally unimpressive end result UKIP and Veritas did have an impact on the composition of the new House of Commons.

The Christopher Booker column in today's Sunday Telegraph also reports on this fact as quoted below and linked from here.

Ukip scuppered the Eurosceptics

The untold story of the election was the absurdly disproportionate impact of the UK Independence Party. Although their vote may have looked derisory, in no fewer than 26 seats where the Tories narrowly lost, including Harlow yesterday, the Ukip vote was greater than the winner's majority.

If most of those votes had gone to the Tories (a fair assumption) they would thus have won 26 more seats, Labour 17 fewer, the Lib Dems nine fewer. This would have wiped out most of the Lib Dems' 11 net gains, giving them only two seats more than in 2001. Mr Blair's majority would have been cut to a mere 32.

Ukip's net effect may thus have been not only to cost the Tories a swathe of seats such as Battersea, Hove, Torbay and Westmoreland, but to deprive the Commons of strongly Eurosceptic MPs, while assisting the return of Europhiles. In Eastleigh, for instance, Ukip kept out the Eurosceptic Conor Burns, ensuring that it was held for the Lib Dems by Chris Huhne, a rabidly Europhile former Euro-MP.

An unresolved riddle of the 2005 election must therefore be what might have been the result of Michael Howard taking a more robustly intelligent line on the "European" issue, rather than stuffing it away out of sight. If the Tories hope to win next time, this is one of the first lessons they must ponder.

posted by Martin |8:22 AM
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