East Anglia: UKIP tops poll and snatches extra seat at European parliament as LibDems lose
Archant © 2014
The UK Independence Party and the Conservatives triumphed in the East at the expense of the Liberal Democrats who lost their Eastern voice in Europe last night.
Each won three seats, with Richard Howitt taking one for Labour in a declaration half an hour after the polls closed across Europe.
MEPs of many parties paid tribute to Lib Dem Andrew Duff, who has served three terms in the European Parliament, who said his party had been “clobbered” in coalition and confounded by a wave of nationalistic sentiment across the country.
Patrick O’Flynn, the top UKIP candidate for the East of England, talked of his party’s “political earthquake” after taking more than half a million votes, ahead of the Conservatives.
The UKIP communications director added: “Voters in the East, as in the rest of the UK, are concerned about open door migration, about pressure on green field land and about living standards – but they also wanted to give the other parties a bloody nose and we have to recognise UKIP was a convenient vehicle for that.
“We now need to convince people to stick with us. We need to build on our strategy, work on our vision and broaden our agenda.
“If we do that we can be confident of winning seats in parliament.”
Richard Howitt, who was re-elected as the Labour MEP in the East, said the party must acknowledge Ukip’s success but not mirror their policies.He added: “Labour has seen a big increase in its vote in this region but we must acknowledge the concerns that Ukip has tapped into – we do not reject those concerns.”