UKIP secure hat-trick of Yorkshire seats

UKIP has secured three MEPs in Yorkshire.
UKIP has secured three MEPs in Yorkshire.

The United Kingdom Independence Party was the big winner at the European elections in Yorkshire.

The party won half of the six available seats for the Yorkshire and the Humber region, up from its one representative at the last elections five years ago.

European parliamentary results have been announced.

European parliamentary results have been announced.

Elsewhere, Labour doubled its representation from one to two, while the Tories clinched the other seat – down from the two it won last time around.

The British National Party and Liberal Democrats were the big losers, failing to hold their seats.

The MEPS elected in Yorkshire and the Humber are Jane Collins, Amjad Bashir and Mike Hookem for UKIP, Linda McAvan and Richard Corbett for Labour and Tory Timothy Kirkhope.

Jane Collins is a UKIP party organiser who unsuccessfully contested parliamentary by-elections in Barnsley Central in 2011 and Rotherham in 2012.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage is hit by an egg as he gets out of his car in Nottingham city centre.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage is hit by an egg as he gets out of his car in Nottingham city centre.

Mr Bashir, who was born in Pakistan, is chairman of a restaurant group, while Mr Hookem is a former serviceman who came fourth in the Hull East parliamentary election in 2010.

Former local government worker Mrs McAvan, who is married to Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield, has been an MEP for the region since 1998, while former civil servant and policy adviser Mr Corbett was previously an MEP from 1996 until he lost his seat at the last European election in 2009.

Mr Kirkhope is a former Northumberland county councillor and Leeds MP who has been an MEP since 1999.

Shadow chancellor and West Yorkshire Labour MP Ed Balls said: “Big congratulations to Linda McAvan and Richard Corbett - so good to see the BNP gone.”

Nick Clegg

Nick Clegg

However, Mrs McAvan said there was ‘some disappointment we are not the largest party’.

Commenting on the results, Foreign Secretary and North Yorkshire Conservative MP William Hague, who was born in Rotherham and attended Wath-upon-Dearne Grammar School, said Brussels had to acknowledge the ‘deep disillusionment and deep dissatisfaction’ of voters across Europe.

He said he believed UKIP’s support would switch for next year’s general election.

He said: “They can have a free hit in Europe, they can have a vote that does not have the consequence of bringing the wrong government in, so it is very different to a general election.”

With Marine Le Pen’s Front National set to top France’s poll, Mr Hague said: “I think we should be concerned about some of these developments across the rest of Europe and that is why it is so important that the next European Commission, the European Council, the next European Parliament do get the message that there is rising discontent and tensions of many kinds in Europe.”

The full breakdown of votes in Yorkshire and the Humber was: UKIP 403,630 or 31.13 per cent (+13.70 per cent); Labour 380,189 or 29.32 per cent (+10.56); Conservative 248,945 or 19.20 per cent (-5.25); Green 102,282 or 7.89 per cent (-0.63); Liberal Democrat 81,108 or 6.25 per cent (-6.92); An Independence From Europe 24,297 or 1.87 per cent; British National Party 20,138 or 1.55 per cent (-8.24); Yorkshire First 19,017 or 1.47 per cent; English Democrats 13,288 or 1.02 per cent (-1.53); NO2EU 3,807, or 0.29 per cent (-0.98).

In individual council areas, UKIP came top in Rotherham and Doncaster – where Labour leader Ed Miliband is MP for Doncaster North – and second to Labour in Barnsley and Sheffield.

The Liberal Democrats secured only the fifth highest number of votes, behind the Tories and Green Party, in Sheffield, where party leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is MP for Sheffield Hallam.

In the European elections in the city, Labour polled 47,571 votes, ahead of UKIP with 39,139, the Greens with 17,288 and the Tories with 15,329. The Lib Dems secured 14,299 votes in the city.

The Lib Dems appeared to be the biggest victims of the ‘earthquake’ in British politics caused by UKIP, with Mr Clegg’s party struggling to hold on to many of its MEPs.

Mr Clegg gambled by taking on Nigel Farage in head-to-head debates ahead of the European elections and highlighted his support for the Brussels project by casting the Lib Dems as the ‘party of in’.

However, the Lib Dems lost seats across England as the main parties conceded defeat in the face of a UKIP surge and the Deputy Prime Minister will face further questions about his leadership.

Mr Farage claimed victory, saying: “This is an earthquake because never before in the history of British politics has a party that will be seen to be an insurgent party ever topped the polls in a national election.”

Lib Dem Party president Tim Farron, seen as a possible successor to Mr Clegg, said the Deputy Prime Minister should not face a leadership challenge despite a ‘staggeringly disappointing’ European election result.

He said the Lib Dems had ‘paid the price’ for the decision to fight a strongly pro-European campaign, but he said Mr Clegg should be praised for having the backbone to take an unpopular position over the EU and confront UKIP’s ‘threat to British cultural value’.

Mr Clegg has insisted he is staying despite the party losing more than 250 councillors in local elections, including several in Sheffield, and being on course for a rout in the European elections.

Southport MP John Pugh suggested that a dozen of his Commons colleagues had expressed doubts over whether Mr Clegg should continue at the head of the party.

Ex-MP Sandra Gidley - one of about 250 people to have signed an online letter demanding a change of leader - said Mr Clegg was tainted by his position in the

Tory-led coalition.

One Liberal Democrat loser on the night was Edward McMillan-Scott.

Elected as a Conservative MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber five years ago, he defected to the Lib Dems in 2010, but lost his seat in the latest election.

He said: “I think Mr Clegg was absolutely right to challenge Mr Farage over Europe. It’s important to have started the debate. I’m proud to be in a party that stands for itself over Europe - we want to stay in, but we want reform.

“I think the public are beginning to realise Europe does matter, but it’s come far too late for us.”

In the East Midlands, UKIP and the Conservatives won two each of the five available seats, while Labour’s Glenis Wilmott retainer her place in the European Parliament.

Roger Helmer and Margot Walker were elected for UKIP, with Emma McClarkin and Andrew Lewer elected for the Conservatives.

The total breakdown of votes was: UKIP 368,734 or 32.9 per cent; Conservative 291,270 or 25.99 per cent; Labour 279,363 or 24.93 per cent; Green 67,066 or 5.98 per cent; Liberal Democrat 60,773 or 5.42 per cent; An Independence From Europe 21,384 or 1.91 per cent; British National Party 18,326 or 1.64 per cent; English Democrats 11,612 or 1.04 per cent; and Harmony Party 2,194, or 0.2 per cent.

In the Chesterfield Council area, the breakdown of votes was 9.138 for Labour, 7,537 for UKIP, 3,183 for the Tories, 2,440 for the Liberal Democrats, 1.292 for the Green Party, 439 for the British National Party, 400 for An Independence from Europe, 292 for the English Democrats and 49 for the Harmony Party.

Labour’s deputy leader Harriet Harman said many voters were set on punishing the main parties when they went to vote.

Acknowledging UKIP’s victory, she said: “People have said they are voting UKIP even if they are a Labour supporter in order to give us a shake-up.”

Ms Harman said voters wanted to know the system was fair, that their wages were not being undercut by cheaper workers and that benefits were not being wrongly claimed.

Elsewhere, former Sheffield teacher Jonathan Arnott has been elected as a UKIP MEP for North East England.

Born in Sheffield, the 33-year-old Sheffield University maths graduate is UKIP’s general secretary.

He is a former Yorkshire county chess captain and head of maths at Handsworth Christian School and a former chairman of UKIP’s Sheffield branch.

He stood unsuccessfully for parliament in Sheffield Attercliffe in 2005 and Sheffield South East in 2010, as well as to be South Yorkshire’s police and crime commissioner in 2012.

His wife Charlotte stood unsuccessfully for UKIP in the Darnall ward at Sheffield Council’s local elections on Thursday.

Speaking after his election, Mr Arnott said: ““We picked up in many cases lifelong Labour supporters and that shows what we can do in the North East.

“We have shown we are the challenger to Labour in the North East. Yes, we can carry that into 2015, but only if we show people we do have the domestic policies they can back, such as no tax on a minimum wage or making criminal sentences count as the sentence handed out.

“The public will not vote for us in 2015 until we start telling them that message.”