Minority parties bank on rise in vote share

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Minority parties such as the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) and the Greens are expecting to see a big increase in their share of yesterday's overall vote, in what is being interpreted as a protest against the Tories and Labour.

Minority parties such as the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) and the Greens are expecting to see a big increase in their share of yesterday's overall vote, in what is being interpreted as a protest against the Tories and Labour.

UKIP is on course to increase its seats in the European Parliament four-fold, according to projections that suggest heavy losses for Labour and the Conservatives. Based on a Gallup survey conducted before polling yesterday, the predictions highlight the spectacular rise of the Eurosceptic party, suggesting its current three seats will be quadrupled to 12.

The Greens are also expecting a rise in their share of the vote. "We think we are going to increase the number of councillors by a third and are confident of significantly increasing our number of Euro MPs. We generally come out lower in the polls than on election night," a spokeswoman said.

While the Tories are set to win the largest number of European seats, they are also likely to be the biggest casualties of the rise of UKIP, slumping from their current 37 to 23, according to the poll. Labour, now the second-biggest bloc, will fall from 28 to 20, in what would be a significant rebuff to Tony Blair.

Bob Worcester of the polling organisation Mori predicted the elections would be "a muddle" that would not "tell us what is going to happen in a general election".

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