Clacton by-election: Douglas Carswell's victory was largest vote increase for any party in any UK by-election

Ukip went from a previous record of 0 votes to a 60% share

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Indy Politics

Douglas Carswell’s 21,113-vote victory has not just entered the record books for making him Ukip’s first MP - the result was the largest increase in votes by any party in any UK by-election ever.

Professor John Curtice, an elections expert and President of the British Polling Council, called it “truly remarkable”.

“He’s not only won, he’s won stupendously,” he told BBC This Week.

“This is the largest increase in the vote achieved by any party in any by-election in the United Kingdom.

“To go from zero to 60 per cent – no one has ever done that.”

Previous Clacton elections, where Mr Carswell was the Conservative MP before his defection, had not been contested by Ukip.

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Douglas Carswell outside a polling station in Clacton-on-Sea

Only 51.2 per cent of the electorate turned out for Thursday’s vote but Mr Carswell’s 21,113 votes saw him comfortably defeat Conservative Giles Watling, on 8,709 votes.

Labour came in third place and the Greens pushed the Liberal Democrats down to a humiliating fifth with just 483 votes.

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UKIP campaigners in the town centre of Clacton-on-Sea, Essex

Other notable by-election results include Simon Hughes’ victory for the Liberal Party in 1983 and Winnie Ewing winning a shock victory for the Scottish National Party in Hamilton in 1967.

In his acceptance speech, Mr Carswell said the Eurosceptic party must ensure it could appeal to all people in Britain, including those from immigrant backgrounds.

“To my new party I offer these thoughts: humility when we win, modesty when we are proved right,” he added.

“If we speak with passion, let it always be tempered by compassion. We must be a party for all Britain and all Britons: first and second generation as much as every other.”

Ukip's next target is Rochester and Strood, where Mr Carswell's fellow Tory defector Mark Reckless is hoping to return to Parliament.

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