Ukip results reveal divide between London and rest of England
Experts estimate Ukip has polled just 7% in the capital, compared with more than 20% in the rest of the country.
A deep geographical split has emerged in Ukip’s popularity, after the party built new strongholds in coastal and market towns in local elections but failed to win more than a handful of seats in London.
Experts estimated that Ukip was polling more than 20% in most of the country, helping to unseat at least five Conservative, three Labour and one Liberal Democrat local authorities. But its polling was at 7% in London, where Labour gains were dominant and turned four of the outer suburbs red.
Nigel Farage declared he had unleashed a “Ukip fox in the Westminster henhouse” and continued to predict a victory in the European elections, the results of which are due on Sunday. However, the party’s poor showing in the capital may have helped push the party’s overall share of the vote below 17%, significantly lower than its 23% share in local elections last year and well below both Labour and the Conservatives.
One prominent Ukip candidate, Suzanne Evans, attributed Ukip’s failure to gain ground in London to its “more media-savvy and educated” population, in contrast to the rest of the country.
The 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 the country.
Professor John Curtice, a psephologist at Strathclyde University, said the results showed the share of the vote going to Farage’s party had dropped since last year, but “anybody who thought that the Ukip bubble was going to be easily deflated should now be disabused of that notion”.
- The Guardian,