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."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Life and Style
fashionAngelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
News
i100
Sport
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
footballRadamel Falcao and Diego Costa head record £835m influx
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint kiss in Doctor Who episode 'Deep Breath'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Arts and Entertainment
Danish director Lars von Trier
tvEnglish-language series with 'huge' international cast set for 2016
Life and Style
tech
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

Project Officer (HMP Brixton Mentoring Project)

£24,000 per annum pro rata (21 hours per week): Belong: Work as part of a cutt...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £45000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Key featuresA highly motivated ...

DT teachers required for supply roles in Cambridge

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: DT teachers required ...

Secondary supply teachers required in Wisbech

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Secondary teachers ne...

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering