Nigel Farage and Ukip to target at least 20 parliamentary seats at next year's general election

Leader Nigel Farage keen to capitalise on the the party's success at Thursday's local council elections

Nigel Farage has drawn up a list of at least 20 parliamentary seats for Ukip to target at next year’s general election after success in Thursday’s local council elections saw his party win over 160 council seats.

According to party officials, Ukip will now focus their efforts on a handful of targeted seats to increase their chances of securing a presence in Westminster after next May’s general elections.  

If Ukip were to win any of the seats targeted in the list, it would be the first time the party would have an MP in Westminster, and will show the rise in popularity of the party that was founded in 1993.

A source from the party told The Guardian: "We don't want Nigel to be the only one," adding: "The key is to focus ruthlessly on 20-30 target seats. This is the way for a smaller party to crack the first past the post system in parliamentary elections, as the Lib Dems did."

It is believed that some of the seats that Ukip could target would include those in Essex, Rotherham, Great Grimsby, Great Yarmouth, Portsmouth South, Eastleigh, Broxtowe, North Thanet and South Thanet.

Thursday’s elections saw major gains for Ukip in councils across Essex.

In Basildon, Ukip won 11 council seats, while five Ukip representatives were elected to the Southend Council and the Castle Point Castle Council – the area which covers Canvey Island.  In Rotherham, Ukip secured 10 of the 21 council seats up for election.

Despite the success, the source did say that the party’s first task was to concentrate on the Newark by-election on 5 June, before working to ensure a first seat in the Commons next May.

Speaking on Saturday, Mr Farage said that he would be standing as an MP “south of the river,” with many believing that he could target a seat in his home county of Kent.

Thanet South, which is currently held by the Conservatives, is probably the most likely; however, Folkestone & Hythe and Sittingbourne are also options.

 

Before the elections on Thursday, many of those in the country’s three main parties did not believe that Ukip would pose a serious threat at next year’s general elections.

However, their massive surge in popularity has led to reactions from these parties.

All three major parties lost council seats to Ukip after the results were announced on Thursday.

The Conservatives ceded a number across Essex and Kent, losing control of councils in Maidstone, Basildon and Brentwood.

Labour was trumped by Ukip in Swindon and Rotherham.

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However, it was the Lib Dems who suffered most, losing a total of 300 local council seats.

This has led to a number of party members questioning the position of leader Nick Clegg.

Today, a a rebel petition drafted by Liberal Democrat members and had already received a number of signatures calling on Clegg to step down.

Members of the Conservative party have also spoken out in reaction Ukip’s impressive showing at the local elections.

Chancellor George Osborne warned those voters that had voted for the Ukip instead of the Tories on Thursday would have to “live with the consequences for years” if they failed to switch back their vote next May.

He said that the Conservative party should ignore calls for a pact with Ukip and said that the battle would be between David Cameron and Ed Miliband – a battle that Cameron had to win.

A number of political commentators have said that Ukip’s gains have shown that Ukip are a serious political option for voters in next year’s general elections and have even said that this could be the beginning of four party politics in Britain.

 
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