Ukip’s journey to Westminster


Published: Friday 21st November 2014 by The News Editor

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Just six weeks after Ukip’s historic parliamentary breakthrough, the party is celebrating the election of its second MP.

The eurosceptic party was set up in 1993 by a cademic Alan Sked and other members of a cross-party anti-European group called the Anti-Federalist League . This is how Ukip’s story has unfolded:

:: May 1 1997: Ukip candidates stand in the general election but win no seats. Mr Sked resigns after the election, saying he is concerned about ”racist” elements.

:: June 10 1999: Under the leadership of millionaire businessman Michael Holmes, Ukip wins three seats in the European Parliament. A then little-known Nigel Farage becomes an MEP.

:: June 10-13, 2004: Now under the leadership of Roger Knapman, Ukip comes third in European elections with 12 MEPs. Chat-show host and former Labour MP Robert Kilroy-Silk joins the party during this campaign.

:: July 23 2004: Ukip comes third in the Hartlepool by-election. Mr Kilroy-Silk hints at ambitions to challenge Mr Knapman.

:: January 25, 2005: Mr Kilroy-Silk ends a tumultuous period by quitting the party, labelling it a ”joke”. He establishes his own party, called Veritas – Latin for truth. Mr Knapman says he will ”break open the champagne”.

:: May 5 2005: Ukip fields 495 candidates in the general election and gains 2.3% of the vote but no seats.

:: April 4 2006: Mr Farage demands an apology from David Cameron after he describes Ukip members as ”fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists, mostly”. Mr Cameron does not apologise.

:: September 12 2006: Mr Farage is elected Ukip leader with 45% of the vote.

:: June 4 2009: Ukip comes second in the European elections with 16.5% of the vote and 13 MEPs.

:: November 26 2009: Lord Pearson of Rannoch becomes leader, replacing Mr Farage, who stands down to challenge speaker John Bercow for his parliamentary seat.

:: May 6 2010: Ukip fields 572 candidates in the general election. Mr Farage is treated for broken ribs and minor injuries after a plane he is travelling in comes down at Hinton-in-the-Hedges Airfield near Brackley, Northamptonshire. He says he is ”lucky to be alive”. The party increases its share of the poll by 0.9% but takes no seats. In Buckingham, Mr Farage polls 17% but comes third behind Mr Bercow and John Stevens, the Buckinghamshire Campaign For Democracy candidate.

:: August 17 2010: Lord Pearson resigns as leader.

:: November 5 2010: Mr Farage completes his second coming as he is re-elected leader with 60.5% of the vote.

:: January 13 2011: Paul Nuttall finishes fourth in the Oldham East and Saddleworth by-election.

:: March 3 2011: Jane Collins comes second in the Barnsley Central by-election. Mr Farage welcomes this result, saying: ”The Lib Dems are no longer the voice of opposition in British politics – we are.”

:: February 28 2013: In the Eastleigh by-election following the resignation of Liberal Democrat MP Chris Huhne, Ukip candidate Diane James polls 27.8% and 11,571 votes – the highest ever for any Ukip parliamentary candidate. But the Lib Dems retain the seat.

:: May 2 2013: Ukip makes significant gains in local council elections, including in Norfolk, Lincolnshire and Kent.

:: May 22 2014: Ukip gains 27.49% of the vote at European elections – the highest for any British party in that election. It gains 11 MEPs, taking its total to 24.

:: August 28 2014: Clacton’s Conservative MP Douglas Carswell, with a majority of more than 12,000, forces a by-election by defecting to Ukip and resigning from Parliament, saying the Tories could not promise ”serious change” in Europe. His defection sparks speculation that MPs across the political spectrum could join Ukip.

:: September 27 2014: Rochester and Strood MP Mark Reckless forces a by-election by announcing his defection to Ukip.

:: October 9 2014: As David Cameron celebrates his 48th birthday, voters go to the polls in Clacton where Ukip could gain its first MP. Ukip pushes hard in the Lancashire constituency of Heywood and Middleton, which is also holding a by-election following the death of Labour MP Jim Dobbin.

:: October 10 2014: Mr Farage claims Ukip is on course to hold the balance of power in the next Parliament winning Clacton with a 12,000 majority and coming within 600 votes of overturning Labour’s 6,000 majority in Heywood & Middleton.

:: October 13: Tory defector Mr Carswell returns to Parliament as Ukip’s first directly-elected MP. Mr Farage hails it as an ”emotional” moment for Ukip.

:: October 21: Mr Farage comes under fire from leaders of Britain’s Jewish community over his link up with a member of a controversial right-wing Polish party in order to save his grouping in the European Parliament. The Board of Deputies of British Jews says it is ”gravely concerned” Ukip MEPs will be sitting in the same group as the Polish Congress of the New Right (KNP) whose leader Janusz Korwin-Mikke has been denounced as a Holocaust denier.

:: October 22: A ComRes poll puts Ukip on course for a resounding victory in Rochester and Strood. The snapshot shows the eurosceptics 13 points ahead, with 43% of the votes, while the Conservatives are on 30%.

:: November 20: Voters go to the polls in the Rochester and Strood by-election.

:: November 21: Mr Reckless wins by a majority of 2,920, a smaller-than-forecast margin of defeat. The Liberal Democrats finish fifth with just 349 votes.

Published: Friday 21st November 2014 by The News Editor

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