Nigel Farage inflicted another body blow on the three main political parties on Sunday night as Ukip scored a stunning victory in the European Parliament elections.
The anti-EU party dramatically built on its success in the local elections in England last Thursday when the results of the Euro poll on the same day were announced. A jubilant Mr Farage hailed the outcome as “an earthquake” because “never before in the history of British politics has a party seen to be an insurgent party ever topped the polls in a national election”.
The Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats conceded that Ukip had come first, with just Scotland and Northern Ireland left to declare on Monday morning.
Ukip was on course to take a single seat in Scotland, meaning it would take 24 in total – almost double the 13 seats it won in the last Euro elections in 2009. The party has 27.5 per cent of the vote so far.
The Tories, who came first last time with 25 seats, have suffered the humiliation of dropping to third place for the first time ever in a national election. They have secured 24 per cent of the vote so far, losing seven seats.
Labour secured victories in Wales, the North East and North West of England and London to take 25.4 per cent of the vote, increasing its number of MEPs by seven to 18.
But Liberal Democrats suffered a disastrous result, falling to an embarrassing fifth place behind the Green Party amid increasing grassroots pressure on Nick Clegg to stand down as party leader.
Lib Dem fears of a total wipeout were raised when they lost their seat in the one-time stronghold of the South West. Sir Graham Watson, president of the Liberal group in the European Parliament, was ousted by the Greens. However, they avoided the worst humiliation by winning one seat in the South East. Nationally, the Greens added a single seat to take three overall.