Kilroy-Silk promises guerrilla campaign to wreck work of European Parliament

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Robert Kilroy-Silk, the newly elected UK Independence Party (UKIP) MEP, vowed yesterday to lead a guerrilla campaign to wreck the working of the European Parliament.

Robert Kilroy-Silk, the newly elected UK Independence Party (UKIP) MEP, vowed yesterday to lead a guerrilla campaign to wreck the working of the European Parliament.

The party was jubilant after quadrupling its tally of European MPs from three to 12, and pushing the Liberal Democrats into fourth place by capturing 17 per cent of the vote.

Its leaders pledged to build on the stunning gains to build a "mass movement" to fight the general election.

Mr Kilroy-Silk, whose candidacy won the party massive publicity, struck an aggressive note when he was asked what he hoped to do in the Parliament. He replied: "Wreck it. Expose it for the waste and the corruption and the way it is eroding our independence and our sovereignty.

"Our job is to go there and say, 'Look, this is what they do, this is how they waste your money, this is how they spend it, this is how it gets corrupted, this is how they go on the gravy-train and spend their time in restaurants and the rest of it'. That is what we are there to do - to expose the whole edifice."

He said he would be attending the Parliament only when necessary and would not be getting "bogged down" in the committees and reports which take up much of MEPs' time.

Mr Kilroy-Silk said UKIP's success would force the Tories to take a tougher line on Europe - and predicted the party would be destroyed if Michael Howard did not change his policy.

Nigel Farage, the UKIP's campaign chairman, said: "It is our intention to turn this party over the course of the next year into a genuine mass movement."

UKIP's surge in support appeared to come mainly at the expense of the Conservatives, although there are signs it picked up protest votes from all parts of the political spectrum.

It came second in the popular vote in the South West, the South East, Eastern region and the East Midlands, in each of which it won two MEPs. The party also gained one MEP in London, the West Midlands, the North West and Yorkshire and the Humber.

As revealed yesterday by The Independent, it plans to field candidates in all of the Westminster parliamentary constituencies in the general election, expected next year.

Mr Farage appealed to pollsters and the media to recognise UKIP as the fourth party and to stop including them in the category "Others".

"We have over 2.5 million voters - not bad for a party denounced as being cranks and gadflies and extremists," he said. Mr Kilroy-Silk also brushed aside suggestions that he was seeking to replace the former Tory MP Roger Knapman as leader of UKIP.

"Roger is the leader, he has been the leader for some time and he has brought the party to its biggest electoral success and there are no plans, as I understand, for that to change," said Mr Kilroy-Silk.

And he said he was not intending to stand as a candidate for the Westminster Parliament, either in the Leicester South by-election, caused by the death of the Labour MP Jim Marshall and likely to be held next month, or in the Rushcliffe constituency of the pro-European Conservative MP Kenneth Clarke at the general election.

But asked if his decision not to stand held for all Westminster constituencies, he answered "no". Mr Kilroy-Silk said he expected the Conservatives to respond to UKIP's success by taking a tougher line on Europe.

But he added: "We are not here to take account of the electoral prospects of either the Labour Party or the Conservative Party. We are here to get our country back.

"What the other parties do is up to them. What we are doing is prosecuting our case because we believe in it and we believe it is what the vast majority of the British people want."

THE UKIP MEPs

Nigel Farage (South East)

Commodity broker who was a founder member. Led a breakaway group during party infighting after its disastrous result in the 1997 election.

Jeffrey Titford (Eastern)

Former UKIP leader. An undertaker from Essex who sold the family business to concentrate on fishing and golf. Also a former Tory councillor.

Graham Booth (South West)

Ran a holiday business in Devon for 40 years before retiring in 2000. Took over seat in 2002 from Michael Holmes who resigned from UKIP.

Gerard Batten (London)

British Telecom salesman who helped found UKIP after John Major signed the Maastricht treaty in 1993. Has vowed never to carry an identity card.

Godfrey Bloom (Yorkshire and the Humber)

Financial economist and a fan of country sports. Warned BNP "extremists" off after plot to infiltrate UKIP was exposed.

Derek Clark (East Midlands)

Former teacher who started the UKIP's Northamptonshire Branch in 1995 and became party secretary three years ago.

Robert Kilroy-Silk (East Midlands)

Former Labour MP and BBC chat-show host, sacked over references to Arabs in a newspaper column. Seen as UKIP's leader in waiting.

Roger Knapman (South West)

Chartered surveyor and former Tory whip who lost his Stroud seat in 1997 and set up a property business. Defected to UKIP in 2000.

Ashley Mote (South East)

Professional writer who has published works on business management and cricket history, now a regular speaker on the Eurosceptic circuit.

Mike Nattrass (West Midlands)

Birmingham businessman who owns a firm making stone fireplaces. UKIP chairman who stood for the anti-immigration New Britain Party in 1994.

John Whittaker (North West)

Economist, specialising in monetary policy, at Lancaster University. He says he is fighting to free small business from political correctness.

Tom Wise (Eastern)

Formerly UK managing director of Germany's biggest herb and spice company. Stood for UKIP at the 1997 and 2001 general elections and the 1999 European election.

THE SMALLER PARTIES

The British National Party

The British National Party failed in its ambition to win a seat in the European Parliament but did win 4.9 per cent of the vote in the European elections.

Its strongest vote was in Yorkshire and the Humber where the party won 8 per cent of the vote and finished fifth overall.

The party won 7.5 per cent of the European vote in the West Midlands, 6.5 per cent in the East Midlands and 6.4 per cent in the North East and North West regions. The party's vote was up 3.9 per cent from 1999.

The BNP did better than George Galloway's Respect coalition, but was beaten in the minor parties stakes by the Greens.

Its other strong performance was in the West Midlands (7.5 per cent), the North East and North West regions (6.4 per cent). The party won 4.9 per cent in Eastern England. In the South its best performance was in London, where it achieved 4 per cent of the vote. In the South East (2.9 per cent), South West and Wales (3 per cent apiece) and Scotland (1.7 per cent), its performance was much weaker.

Respect

The hopes of the former Labour MP George Galloway of a political breakthrough after his expulsion from the Labour Party in October were quashed in the elections, despite his Respect coalition winning 4.8 per cent of the vote in London. Respect - the Unity Coalition won 1.53 per cent of the vote nationally (252,216 votes), finishing well behind other minor parties, the Greens and the British National Party. Its total included 91,175 votes in London.

Respect probably did prove a nuisance to the Greens, however, taking some of their anti-war vote. The importance of the London vote to Mr Galloway's fledgling movement was best illustrated by the coalition's lacklustre results elsewhere. The best result outside London was in the West Midlands, where the party polled 2.4 per cent.

Other results were even more meagre - from Yorkshire and the Humber (1.9 per cent) and the North West (1.2 per cent) down to 0.6 per cent in the South East region and Wales and 0.7 per cent in the South West.

The Green Party

The Green Party's hopes of progress in the European elections were dashed on Sunday, mainly because it failed to beat competition from other minority parties.

The Greens held on to their two MEPs (Jean Lambert in London and Caroline Lucas in the South East region), taking 6.25 per cent (1,028,283) of the national vote.

But the party failed to make predicted gains partly because of the rise of the United Kingdom Independence Party. The Respect anti-war coalition, headed by the former Labour MP George Galloway, also robbed the Green Party of anti-war votes.

Expected wins in the South West region, where the party gained 7.2 per cent of the vote, down 1.1 per cent, and the North West area (5.6 per cent of the vote) failed to materialise, despite energetic canvassing and a slicker, more sophisticated campaign from Green Party central office.

A spokeswoman for the party said: "We now have a core Green vote and we are here to stay. We will bounce back."

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