John Bickley came unbelievably close to unseating Labour in the Heywood & Middleton by-election, falling short by just over 600 votes after a bundle check.
Carswell's victory for UKIP in Clacton represents a 44% swing from Conservative to UKIP and is the largest winning vote increase for any party in history whilst Bickley's close second in Heywood & Middleton will mortify Labour who almost lost the safe northern seat that they have held since it was created 21 years ago.
When I joined UKIP six years ago the party was very much the underdog, barely registering on opinion polls and tanking in elections. How things have changed. UKIP has replaced the Lib Dems as the number three party in the UK and is challenging both the Conservatives and Labour. The courage that Douglas Carswell and Mark Reckless have shown in defecting from the Conservatives and resigning their seats to get a fresh mandate for UKIP is a rare display of principals that hadn't been seen since Churchill crossed the floor twice when his party failed to represent his beliefs. But we must also recognise the role of Nigel Farage who has devoted his life to turning UKIP into a serious political force for good at great personal expense. There is no doubt in my mind that UKIP's success over the last couple of years, culminating in yesterday's historic first ever Westminster by-election win would not have happened were it not for Nigel Farage's leadership of the Peoples' Army that he has created.
|Andrew Graham||Lib Dem||483||1.3%|
|Alan "Howling Laud" Hope||Loony||127||0.4%|
Heywood & Middleton
|Anthony Smith||Lib Dem||1,457||5.1%|