Local elections 2014: Ukip makes major gains as Labour takes Tory flagship Hammersmith and Fulham

Results from southern councils suggest Essex is increasingly voting for Ukip, with Basildon gains pushing the council to no overall control

Deputy Political Editor

The Tories and Labour alike were reeling today from a series of defeats at the hands of Ukip in early results from the local council elections.

Nigel Farage’s party shrugged off a campaign blighted by revelations about some of its candidates to pick up a succession of seats in Conservative and Labour heartlands.

With just one-third of the local election results declared, it had already exceeded its target of making 80 gains.

Labour’s disappointment was tempered by a strong performance in London, where it captured Hammersmith and Fulham, a flagship Tory authority, as well as Merton.

Ukip was winning around one-quarter of the vote in wards where it stood, although its backing was only around ten per cent in the capital.

It scored stunning successes in Essex, gaining 11 seats in Basildon to end Tory control of its town hall, which had been a Labour target, and made steady gains in the nearby councils of Castle Point and Southend of Sea.

Read more: How Ukip, Labour, the Tories and Lib Dems have performed

It also had a decisive impact in Thurrock by picking up five council seats and depriving Labour of overall control. The result was a particular setback for Ed Miliband as the parliamentary constituency in the Essex town is a key target for Labour at next year’s general election.

Across the Thames estuary, the Conservatives were ousted from control of Maidstone in Kent following four Ukip gains.

There was bad news as well for the Liberal Democrats who lost control of Portsmouth after Ukip gained six seats on the council.

This morning, David Cameron admitted the Tories would need to show they have "answers" on issues such as immigration and welfare reform, after conceding the public were "frustrated" with the political establishment's failure to address their concerns.

Ed Miliband however put the results down to a "deep sense of discontent with the way the country is run" and said votes for Ukip "are an expression of this discontent" and a desire for change.

Ukip also polled strongly in the South Yorkshire authority of Rotherham, once a Labour stronghold, where it won ten seats. The Ukip surge also thwarted Labour’s hopes of winning Swindon, where the Conservatives increased their majority, or Tamworth.

Labour was drawing some comfort from its strong showing in London and the capture of Cambridge for the first time in nearly 20 years. However, it appeared only to have achieved a swing of around three per cent, short of the shift it needs to propel Mr Miliband into Downing Street at next year’s general election.

Tory support was falling by around seven per cent, although the party argued there was everything to play for next year because of the relatively anaemic backing for Labour. It was relieved to fend off Labour in Swindon and Peterborough.

The collapse in the Lib Dems’ local government base since 2010 continued, with its support down by about 13 per cent. They lost control of Kingston-upon-Thames, the home patch of Cabinet minister Ed Davey, to the Conservatives but increased their majority over their Coalition partners in nearby Sutton.

Mr Farage predicted his party would make 200 gains in the elections. He said: “There are areas of the country where now we have got an imprint in local government. Under the first-past-the-post system we are serious players.“

Read more: Coalition tries to shift focus
Labour takes Cameron's 'favourite' council
Farage: 'The fox is in the henhouse'
Ukip: London 'too educated and cultured' to vote for us

Ukip is also expected to make huge gains in the results of elections to the European Parliament, which will be announced on Sunday.

Labour sources had indicated that the party might win 200 seats on a good night, but senior MP Emily Thornberry said she expected the figure to be "around 150".

A senior Labour source acknowledged that Ukip's rise had "some impact" on Ed Miliband's party but claimed it was "looking as though there has been a big Tory/Lib Dem collapse".

But there was criticism of Labour’s performance from Eurosceptic MP Graham Stringer, who told the BBC: ”We have not done as well as we should have done in both the presentation of our policies and the organisation of the campaign."

Labour former minister David Lammy said he would have liked to see the party make gains in places such as Swindon.

He claimed voters had been "swallowing" Ukip's message on immigration and Europe.

Mr Lammy told Sky News: “There's no doubt about it, Ukip are biting into parts of Labour's working-class vote.”

But Tory MPs Douglas Carswell, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Peter Bone called for the Conservatives and Ukip to work together in 2015 to ensure a referendum on Europe.

Mr Rees-Mogg told the BBC: "In a first-past-the-post system, if they don't get those votes into one pot, then both those sides end up losing."

Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Arts and Entertainment
Residents of Derby Road in Southampton oppose filming of Channel 4 documentary Immigration Street in their community
tv
Voices
voicesSiobhan Norton on why she eventually changed her mind
News
i100
Extras
indybest
Sport
Scottish singer Susan Boyle will perform at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Glasgow
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules
filmReview: The Rock is a muscular Davy Crockett in this preposterous film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Life and Style
tech
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

BI Manager - £50,000

£49000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is...

BI Project Manager - £48,000 - £54,000 - Midlands

£48000 - £54000 per annum + Benefits package: Progressive Recruitment: My clie...

VB.Net Developer

£35000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: If you're pa...

SAP Business Consultant (SD, MM and FICO), £55,000, Wakefield

£45000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP Business...

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn