Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Friday, October 10, 2014

Another party in Commons

UKIP achieves the big time.

U.K. Independence Party Wins a Seat in Parliament
The populist, right-wing U.K. Independence Party scored a striking political success early Friday, winning a seat in the British Parliament for the first time…

Opposed to immigration and to British membership in the European Union, the party, known as UKIP, had already made big gains in European and local elections, often at the expense of the Conservative Party…

Early on Friday, the U.K. Independence Party went one better by winning the House of Commons seat that had long eluded it from the Conservatives by a large margin in a by-election in the south of England…

The victory for the U.K. Independence Party, which was once ridiculed and derided by establishment politicians, came in the coastal resort of Clacton-on-Sea, where a by-election was prompted by the defection of the lawmaker Douglas Carswell from the Conservatives.
Carswell posing with students

Mr. Carswell, who had represented Clacton-on-Sea since 2010, was seeking re-election under the banner of the U.K. Independence Party…

Because Britain’s electoral system puts smaller parties at a disadvantage, the U.K. Independence Party is unlikely to win a significant number of seats in next year’s general election, but it could secure enough to influence the outcome.

Moreover, its success on Thursday shows that many voters are disenchanted with the mainstream parties.

With higher-than-average unemployment and lower-than-average wages, Clacton-on-Sea is typical of the places where Britain’s established parties are losing support. “There are a lot of old, white, working-class pensioners, few middle-class university graduates and few minorities — in short a lot of people who like to vote for UKIP and relatively few of those who don’t,” Professor Matthew Goodwin, a professor of politics at the University of Nottingham, said…

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