Local elections 2014: George Osborne tells voters 'I respect Nigel Farage'
Poll by Lord Ashcroft revealed over half of Ukip's support came from disillusioned Conservative voters
George Osborne has said he respects Nigel Farage and urged the Conservatives to respond to the “anger and anxiety” across the country after the Ukip leader delivered the political earthquake he had promised throughout his campaign in the local elections.
The Chancellor acknowledged that many voters across the country have defected to Ukip, but warned those who failed to switch back to the Tories would "live with the consequences for years".
His comments came as a poll by Lord Ashcroft revealed over half of Ukip's support came from disillusioned Conservative voters.
Osborne said the Conservatives would work hard to win an outright parliamentary majority in the 2015 elections amid fears the surge in support for the Eurosceptic could threaten their hold on Westminster.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4, he said: "We take very seriously the fact that people have voted Ukip. We respect that fact. We have to listen to people who voted Ukip. We have to listen to their anger and their anxiety."
When asked if this respect extended to the Ukip leader, Osborne responded: "I respect anyone who wants to put forward about ideas about how this country should be run [and] I respect participants in the political debate, including Nigel Farage."
With 160 of 161 councils having declared their results, Labour has gained 338 seats, Ukip has gained 161 seats, the Lib Dems have lost 307 and the Conservatives have lost 231.
This would have equated to 29 per cent of the votes. After results were confirmed yesterday, David Cameron was forced to reject pressure from some Tory MPs for local pacts with Ukip.
Despite suffering severe losses, Mr Osborne told activists and MPs at a subsequent post-election conference that the results proved there was "no tide of change" towards Labour, but conceded that voters did not believe Tory promises of an EU referendum.
He said there were "too many people who share our values but did not feel able to vote for us" and said the party would "listen, respond and deliver".
Speaking at the event, run by the ConservativeHome website, Mr Osborne said: "Labour got 31 per cent of the vote, 8 per cent less than two years ago.
"For an opposition aspiring to win the election next year, Labour had a miserable set of results.
"But the rejection of the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats must not make us Conservatives remotely complacent.
"There are too many people who share our values but did not feel able to vote for us on Thursday night.
"The results yesterday showed that and I'm sure the results tomorrow will confirm it."
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