By-elections: UKIP come close to having two MPs

Nigel Farage MEP speaking

The Heywood and Middleton by-election returned the seat to Labour, but UKIP came an incredibly close second.

The main focus of today's news is the story about UKIP's first MP. Douglas Carswell was returned to parliament with an impressive 59% of the vote, well ahead of the Conservatives on less than half of that.

It was long expected that Carswell would return to parliament under the UKIP banner, as polls placed him in the lead, but it is the Heywood and Middleton by-election that produced a more unexpected result.

Labour were expected to win by a strong margin, but the difference between Labour and UKIP was a mere 617 votes.

The results were as follows:

-Labour- 40.9% (+0.8)- 11,693

-UKIP - 38.7% (+36.1)- 11,016

-Conservatives - 12.3% (-14.9) - 3,496

-Liberal Democrats- 5.1% (-17.6) - 1,457

-Greens - 870 - 3.1% (+3.1)

-(Rejections- 43)

Turn out was 36%.

For the constituency, the count began with drama due to the closeness of the result.

Speaking on the BBC, Paul Nutall said that there was 620 votes in it, resulting in a bundle recount.

Soon after. the results, as stated above, were announced, giving UKIP a close second.

The Conservative vote collapsed, dealing a blow to David Cameron’s party. A defeat for the party was expected, according to recent polls in the constituency.

However, the Conservatives will be relieved that the media will not focus on them as much as expected, due to the closeness between the Labour share and UKIP.

A recount in a safe Labour seat in the north of England is not something Ed Miliband’s party will be happy about. UKIP were expected to get a strong second, but not as close as what was predicted.

For example, a Survation poll for the area, a few weeks ago, gave Labour 50% and UKIP 31%. The real result was far closer.

On the BBC, Labour activists cheered at Liz McInnes’ win, but the activists should look again at the results. Yes, Ed Miliband’s party won, but barely. UKIP coming second in Labour's heartlands is not something a party, hoping to win in 2015, should be dealing with. Questions about Ed Miliband's leadership will, probably, be raised.

What is becoming clearer is that UKIP will not be going away for a long time. Whether the major parties can accept this will be seen in 2015. UKIP are riding high, and now with their first elected MP, and a close second, who knows where they will get too. 

Without a doubt, the UKIP earthquake is still dominating the political landscape. But it's not just the Conservatives feeling pressure.

Labour are feeling it too.