Published on 27 Feb 2013

Eastleigh: all eyes on Ukip surge

Michael Crick was the first to talk about it last night on Channel 4 News and now others have spotted the Ukip surge in Eastleigh.

One Lib Dem MP I spoke to who was campaigning in the seat said he thought that Ukip might knock the Tories into third place and that they were threatening the Lib Dems from the winner’s spot.

He thought on balance Ukip wouldn’t get quite that far,  and as Michael Crick points out in tonight’s Channel 4 News, the Lib Dems should be indestructable here having got thousands of postal votes cast before the Lord Rennard saga got going.


One senior Conservative tells me that the Tories are also picking up the Ukip surge on their radar in the seat but they’re not sure if the party is gaining its latest voters from the Lib Dem or the Tory pile. One Lib Dem said he thought Ukip was draining votes from all three main parties.

Nerves are clearly jittery. I asked one Lib Dem MP if he thought Nick Clegg’s leadership was in danger as a result of the Rennard story. He said it wasn’t but then volunteered that a loss in Eastleigh could change that. He described the leadership’s approach to the Rennard story as “farcical,” “blundering” and “catastrophic.”

One Lib Dem minister said it was hard to imagine how the leadership could have mishandled the Rennard story any more poorly.

Eastleigh could yet turn out to be an anti-establishment voter outburst, a home counties version of the Bradford West by-election last year that saw George Galloway returned to parliament.

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13 reader comments

  1. Asalin Smits says:

    Quite right! Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

    We are sick of voting Lib/Lab/Con and getting the same result. UKIP are a new and inexperienced national party but they offer something new for centre right voters, while the Greens cater to the centre Left….. we no longer need the discredited Labour or Tories.

    Good luck Diane James!

    1. Drabux says:

      But many voted Libdums last election as an ‘alternative’ to the big two for the very reason you suggested, and look where that got them.

  2. Tom Southern says:

    Anyone who votes UKIP thinking they will do what is best for the UK is very, very misguided. Unfortunately, just by not being a Government party they will pick up all the protest votes from a load of people who don’t know what their policies are. The fact is that UKIP is very far right in terms of both economic and social policy, and their claim to be libertarian is a sham. Their candidates are mostly xenophobic little englanders who have been kicked out of other parties for having extremist views. I cannot believe that the British electorate, who were once forward looking and liberal, could be so craven as to allow Farage and his ilk into Parliament.

  3. Mudplugger says:

    Before the then-unknown Margot Macdonald won the first SNP seat at Westminster, the SNP were treated as joke, no-hoper, vote-wasters – and after that……. well, all we know what happened, the SNP are now in government and chasing full independence.

    We’ve just seen Beppe Grillo claim more than 25% of the vote in Italy from a standing-start, as more of that population seizes the chance to express their total frustration with the self-serving major parties.

    Now just imagine the turbo-effect of a UKIP win at Eastliegh, giving them instant credibility in any other seat nationwide, and you can see why the establishment parties are clenching their collective buttocks-muscles in terror. Truly a joy to behold – bring it on.

  4. Anders says:

    It’s a long shot, but UKIP could be in sight of getting their first MP. What a relief that would be as it would indicate democracy is returning to this country after a long time in the wilderness.

  5. jill barnes says:

    I have given upon Tory/Labour/Libs and I will NEVER vote for them again. UKIP get my vote.

  6. nvelope2003 says:

    We might be witnessing something similar to what has happened in the Italian election. Nigel Farage does seem a bit like a comedian and he and Grillo are both opposed to the Euro.

  7. Robert Taggart says:

    Indeedo, Gibbo. Will have to stay up for the result – BBC1 – 23.35 – This Week : By Election Special !

  8. Ray Turner says:

    Just wondering how anybody knows what the results of the Postal Votes will be…?

    And post Huhne, there’s also the factor of “Once a Lib Dem supporter not necessarily still a Lib Dem supporter” …

    The election is wide open. All is still to play for.

    Turnout will be crucial.

  9. liveinhope says:

    I am 81 and have been a labour supporter from the day I
    became 21,I am sick to the teeth with them, so last month
    I became a full paid up member of UKIP

  10. Mick MC Meel says:

    Hold on there punters ! Maybe Joe Soap has doubts about immigration policy .

  11. fleche_dor says:

    Mr Gibbon

    You have allowed many comments in favour of UKIP on this page, but scarcely any against. Why so? Do you or your editor filter the comments expressed to suit the campaign you are following?

    UKIP failed in Eatleigh by-election.

    I’ve a hunch that you have received many more comments expressing views against UKIP, but you’re not allowed, too frightened, or too supportive to allow them to show. Prove me wrong by displaying this and earlier comments against UKIP.

Comments are closed.