UKIP ended up with just one MP in May, but the party still has a role to play.
Politics is full of disappointments and for UKIP, May’s was likely one of their worst. There was build up with their European election victory, then there were two defections as Mark Reckless and Douglas Carswell left the Conservatives and won their by-elections, but this year’s election left the party with just one MP. Although they did get 13% of the vote.
UKIP’s direct influence in the House of Commons is tiny, but they still have a large voice.
1) The EU referendum
The party got an EU referendum.They may not have got it directly, but Conservatives' fears about UKIP encouraged David Cameron to promise that with a majority the referendum would happen. And now it will. UKIP might not play the centre role in leading the out campaign, but the party will be there to make the case against the EU. Furthermore, if the country ends up staying in the EU, UKIP might be able to capitalise on those who voted to leave in a similar way the SNP did this May, following last year’s referendum.
2) 2016 elections
The general election is over but there are many more elections in the coming years, especially in 2016. Polls suggest that the party is on course to make gains in the Welsh Assembly elections, whilst another has indicated that the party could even win its first seat in the Scottish Parliament. There are also the London Assembly elections, in which the party could win some Assembly Members. If they win a handful of seats across the country then whilst their voice in Westminster will be small they will have influence elsewhere.
3) Proportional representation
Four million people voted UKIP, yet the party won one seat. UKIP have backed electoral change for a while, but this has only intensified since the election. Proportional representation is currently not on the agenda, but with UKIP, the SNP, the Liberal Democrats, the Greens and Plaid Cymru all backing a change, it could get put back on the table.
And with UKIP having been so short changed in May then UKIP will likely play a key role when the debate returns.