Outside a conference room in a smart London hotel, a line of excitable UK Independence Party MEPs formed.

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They were waiting to burst into a conference room and herald their first place in the European elections.

Just in the East of England well over half a million people supported Nigel Farage’s party at the polls, and many more nationally.

In the majority of Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire districts, UKIP attracted the most votes.

Success was at the expense of the Liberal Democrats, who lost all but one MEP nationally, and the Green Party, which narrowly missed out on a seat in the East for a second time.

Whether Labour and the Conservatives were losers or not, it depends on who you spoke to.

Ed Miliband said Labour’s second place in the European elections showed the party was “making progress”, although admitted there was more to do.

But in the East Labour missed its target of clinching a second seat, and a deeply disappointed Labour MEP Richard Howitt took to the stage immediately to say Labour had to listen to the concerns of people that were feeling disaffected.

“We have to do more to persuade them what we have to offer,” he said.

North-West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham also admitted it had not been a good evening for the Conservatives, with a warning not to panic.

He called for a referendum on the European Union to be brought forward a year to 2016, and for a “measured and sensible” new approach to immigration.

He has hopes there will be new immigration laws announced in the Queen’s Speech on June 4.

But the question is, were the European elections a chance for people to protest in an election perceived not to matter.

UKIP did very well in some local elections, but failed to break through in other areas of the east.

Urban areas including Norwich and Ipswich both remained staunchly in Labour control.

Mr Howitt described the UKIP surge in Europe as a “classic protest vote”,

But he added that nationally people should see that although UKIP grabbed headlines. Labour had got more votes in the east, and nationally had many more seats.

Mr Bellingham agreed it was a protest, adding: “A lot of people I met in the town centres said they were going to vote UKIP and lend their vote, but come back to us in 2015.

But added that they should be mindful of the fact that people did vote for UKIP in large numbers.

At his press conference in London yesterday Mr Farage took on the protest vote issue head on, claiming the mainstream politicians were “clinging onto the comfort blanket that this is a protest vote”.

Pointing to his party’s growing success in local elections and a number of by-elections where the party had come a “close and good second”.

“This idea it is a protest vote, well I would say this: ‘It is beginning to become a bit of a permanent protest’. “A lot of these people have decided they are UKIP voters and they are going to stay with us.”

But with the more unpleasant elements of his party, what was his tactic.

He said he would be appointing spokesmen from the new class of MEPs, and putting resources into vetting their candidates.

“We know the spotlight is on us and we know we have to get it right,” he said.

He also set out a direct challenge to Ed Miliband, in whose constituency of Doncaster he said he was going to announce his manifesto. But added: “It would be ridiculous of me to stand here and say go home and prepare for government, because that ain’t going to happen.

“But what is perfectly realistic is to say don’t just look at the European election result, look at the local election result that happened on Thursday and look at the English county election results that happened in May of last year.

“You haven’t got to be a rocket scientist to work out that in constituencies like Great Grimsby, Boston, Yarmouth, Thanet, Folkestone, Bournemouth, Plymouth, oh we do like to be beside the seaside. Our game is to get this right, our game is to find the right candidates, our game is to target resources at getting a good number of seats in Westminster, and who knows, if UKIP do hold the balance of power next year then indeed there will be a referendum,” he added.

16 comments

  • Interesting interview by Nick Conrad, who admits publicly to being an admirer of Brandon Lewis, and Nigel Farage. Nick rather naughtily tried to draw Farage on the Matty Smith alle.gations, rather risky as a discussion of that type could prejudice the cou.rt hearing set for next month! Farage put Conrad in his place on that issue and once again came across as a man who totally connects with the public as op.posed to someone reading a script prepared by a spin doctor, or NCC's press office.

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    Canary Boy

    Wednesday, May 28, 2014

  • Interesting interview by Nick Conrad, who admits publicly to being an admirer of Brandon Lewis, and Nigel Farage. Nick rather naughtily tried to draw Farage on the Matty Smith allegations, rather risky as a discussion of that type could prejudice the court hearing set for next month! Farage put Conrad in his place on that issue and once again came across as a man who totally connects with the public as opposed to someone reading a script prepared by a spin doctor, or NCC's press office.

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    Canary Boy

    Wednesday, May 28, 2014

  • LARSON.E. WHIPSNADE

    Tuesday, May 27, 2014

  • the political landscape is changing. The libdems look like they will be completely wiped out at the next election, We have a labour party who no longer have the working class vote and are losing the white vote rapidly. The only thing holding this party together is the ethnic minority vote. As for the tories they just want to get rid of their liability called the libdems

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    milecross

    Tuesday, May 27, 2014

  • the bottom line in the uk and europe is that british people want to be put first in housing jobs and taxes and this is simply not happening at this moment in time. This is why the far right have been voted in across europe

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    milecross

    Tuesday, May 27, 2014

  • And you really do have to spell it like that to get it past the censor.

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    LARSON.E. WHIPSNADE

    Tuesday, May 27, 2014

  • I see the first new UKIP councillor to be suspended is a Dave Small of Redditch.....for calling Claire Balding a " pe-rvert " . Didn't last a week...expect plenty more to follow.

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    LARSON.E. WHIPSNADE

    Tuesday, May 27, 2014

  • I see the first new UKIP councillor to be suspended is a Dave Small of Redditch.....for calling Claire Balding a " pervert " . Didn't last a week...expect plenty more to follow.

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    LARSON.E. WHIPSNADE

    Tuesday, May 27, 2014

  • Farage is a phoney.He is just as much part of the ruling political class as the rest of them.You can fool some people sometimes but you can't fool all the people all the time.The man's yet another in a very long line of snake-oil salesmen.

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    Peter Watson

    Tuesday, May 27, 2014

  • I wouldn't vote for UKIP if they paid me thousands of pounds, I just hope in the run up to the next election UKIP comes door knocking down my Close, because they won't get vote,but they will certainly get a tray of eggs, so bring a new suit with you and a can of vanish !! they are no better than the BNP !!!

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    Footyboy16

    Tuesday, May 27, 2014

  • ".....People have used their votes....." not much they haven't , 65% did not vote for anyone . UKIP do not control a single council and at the next election will not win a single seat. In the meantime the bonkers views of the new UKIP councillors will be entertaining us with a series of headline grabbing gaffes about women ( or s-luts ) , black people , disabled people , no group will be safe from the old duffers in blazers.

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    LARSON.E. WHIPSNADE

    Tuesday, May 27, 2014

  • ".....People have used their votes....." not much they haven't , 65% did not vote for anyone . UKIP do not control a single council and at the next election will not win a single seat. In the meantime the bonkers views of the new UKIP councillors will be entertaining us with a series of headline grabbing gaffes about women ( or sluts ) , black people , disabled people , no group will be safe from the old duffers in blazers.

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    LARSON.E. WHIPSNADE

    Tuesday, May 27, 2014

  • South Norfolk voters nearly voted for UKIP in the majority, a sign that Richard Bacon is not so safe in his seat either. A well known locally respected person who is concerned for Norfolk, jobs and our futures could make it work for UKIP.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Tuesday, May 27, 2014

  • Interesting to see the mainstream leaders and politicians theories and responses to the recent election results. They are so far out of touch with the citizens and electorate of this country it is unbelievable. They are now reaping the rewards for their failures as are many of their counterparts in Europe. We have experienced many of the ongoing failures locally which will cost us dearly. Sadly a lot these arrogant politicians still think they know best. Wrong ! They need to move aside. They have little credibility, cannot be trusted and their policies are flawed. People have used their votes, and voted wisely.

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    Grey Fox

    Tuesday, May 27, 2014

  • I would like to see a few other career politicians feel the breath of unemployment next May. Certainly even the chameleon tendency’s of Harriet Harman should not continue to save her, and would agree that our adopted son Brandon Lewis, who has regularly failed to step up to some of GY’s significant issues such as the outer harbour, leaves via the same train station he started his introduction to the borough on

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    The Lone Gunman

    Tuesday, May 27, 2014

  • Bye bye Brandon Lewis the writing is on the wall. The blame lays with the dis.honourable, dictato.rial, arrogant, self interested conservative councillors at county hall who ignored and abu.sed the people over the outer harbour, incinerator, RAF Coltishall and the NDR. Nothing you can do about it because all trust in whi.pped conserative and labour groups has gone. How different things would have been had localism and the big society ideals actually been more than hot air and PR spin!

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Canary Boy

    Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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