Losing Ukip councillor blames poor London polls on ‘cultured elite’
Suzanne Evans says, unlike Ukip, capital’s young educated population can’t understand heartache felt by rest of country.
A Ukip councillor has blamed London’s “more media-savvy and educated” population for the party’s lack of success in the capital as local election results indicate an emerging geographical split in the party’s popularity.
A political gulf between the capital, where Ukip won only a handful of seats, and the rest of England, which saw the party rise to prominence in many places where it previously had no presence, was appearing as a distinct pattern in the results on Friday.
One psephologist estimated that Ukip had polled 7% in the local elections in London, compared with 25% across the rest of the country.
Suzanne Evans, a former Tory Merton councillor who defected to Ukip but lost her seat, told the BBC: “[In London, voters] are more likely, I think, to have read some of the negative press that’s been about us, and I think they’d be more likely to believe it, whereas people outside of London have, I think, been fairly cynical about the media campaign and the campaign that the other parties have waged against us.”
She suggested the “educated, cultured and young” in the capital were less likely to vote for Ukip, and claimed the party was unlike the “metropolitan elite” in being able to understand the “heartache” felt by the rest of England.
However, the party leader, Nigel Farage, told Sky News that Ukip’s effort in London was simply not as well organised as in other parts of the country.
Professor John Curtice, a psephologist at Strathclyde University, estimated that Ukip was polling more than 25% in most of the country, but just 7% in London, where Labour picked up two boroughs from the Conservatives and two from no overall control.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that Ukip was doing much better than expected in most places, except London.