Ukip refuse to call it a day after local election mauling by Tories

Written by David Singleton on 5 May 2017 in Diary

Senior figures from Paul Nuttall's party have come out fighting.

Senior Ukip figures are insisting there is still a point to the party after their poor showing in the local elections.

Ukip's vote collapsed and transferred straight to the Tories, with Paul Nuttall’s party wiped out in Doncaster, Hampshire and Essex.

Elections expert John Curtice said UKIP had lost "everything they've been trying to defend".

As the results came in, former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith declared the party dead.

"Ukip have really no skin in this game anymore. Because what’s the point? The real point is that you have a government going to deliver on what the British people want," he said.

But ex-leadership contender Lisa Duffy said it was not quite a disaster for Ukip.

"I won't use the word 'disaster', I'll use the word 'challenging'," she told the BBC. "We knew it was going to be a difficult night."

Ukip councillor Peter Reeve claimed: "Even if we don't win a single seat, we are still a very relevant and real voice in local politics."

But he also acknowledged that Theresa May had been "very successful" in making Brexit the main issue in the local elections and said: "We are not saying this has been a good night. We have lost some very hard-working colleagues. The reality is the national agenda has taken over."

And the party's deputy chairwoman Suzanne Evans said the poor showing at the local elections was "not entirely unpredicted".

She also admitted: “We now have a job to do to convince the electorate that we are  party that is about more than leaving the European Union.”




Meanhwile, former SNP leader Alex Salmond told BBC News that the Tories had only killed off Ukip by turning into the same party.

He said: “One very interesting trend, when you see the disappearance of Ukip, from English politics, and Welsh politics for that matter, is the extent to which the Conservative party have actually become Ukip. They’ve eliminated Ukip by becoming Ukip.

“The sort of extreme language that Theresa May used in Downing Street the other day, that could have come from Nigel Farage. So the Conservative party have managed to beat Ukip, assimilate their votes, but they’ve done it by becoming Ukip.

“And as that message sinks home I think a lot of people will think twice before endorsing this type of Conservative party.”


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