Analysis: The UK Independence Party cannot afford to lose its local power base

Paul Nuttall (left) is congratulated by Nigel Farage after he was announced as the new Ukip leader S

Paul Nuttall (left) is congratulated by Nigel Farage after he was announced as the new Ukip leader Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Nigel Farage's barnstorming victory speech the day after the European Union referendum result will seem like a long time ago for many UK Independence Party members.

Elation has turned to exasperation amid a raft of national headlines chronicling bitter in-fighting.

Farage replacement Diane James quit after just 18 days. Her replacement Paul Nuttall led an shambolic by-election campaign in Stoke. There was the alleged fisticuffs in the European Parliament, and earlier this year Mr Farage and his ally and donor Arron Banks hit headlines with a verbal attack on the party's only MP Douglas Carswell.

The resignation of Norfolk County Council leader Toby Coke demonstrates there are local difficulties too.

It is poor timing before the May elections at County Hall - a contest which most acknowledge is going to be extremely hard to predict.


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The 2013 UKIP surge at the local government ballot box was a hugely significant moment for the party. It became a party with domestic power, not just an EU protest party.

The following year the party gained its first MP and with it the promise of a European Union referendum.

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UKIP needs its local power base if it is to continue to be a force in British politics.

It is due to lose many of its elected representatives - its Euro MPs - in 2019 when Britain leaves the European Union.

It can ill-afford to lose councillors too,

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