Nigel Farage, the Ukip leader, insisted the party was in sight of winning its first Westminster seat after it came within 1,800 votes of pulling off a sensational victory at Eastleigh.
The party has now achieved three by-election second places in three months and picked up a record 27.8 per cent share of the vote in the battle for the Hampshire seat.
Although he denied it today, Mr Farage must be reflecting whether he could have clinched victory had he been the party’s candidate.
He said: “In by-elections to come, we will achieve victories. This is just not some mid-term protest as David Cameron tries to say. This is a clear, defined trend.”
Mr Farage has set its sights on winning the most votes and picking up the most seats in next year’s European elections.
He hit back at Conservative accusations that Ukip’s soaring support is an “anti-politics” vote that will return to the established parties at the next election.
Mr Farage said his party “really connected” with the electorate on many issues and not just opposition to the European Union.
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