Tuesday

17th Oct 2017

Cameron under pressure after eurosceptic party makes gains

  • UKIP surge is 'remarkable' - Farage (Photo: European Parliament)

David Cameron will come under increasing pressure to bring forward plans for an 'in/out' referendum on EU membership, after the UK Independence party made its strongest ever showing in local government elections.

With counting underway in local council elections on Thursday (2 May), the anti-EU party was poised to claim between 15-20 per cent of the vote nationwide, relegating the Liberal Democrats into fourth place and potentially securing more than 100 local councillors.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Although UKIP performed strongly in the European elections in 2004 and 2009, it has previously failed to make any headway in town hall politics.

Meanwhile, in the South Shields by-election, a safe Labour seat in the north-east vacated by former Foreign Secretary David Miliband, UKIP finished a strong second taking 24 percent of the vote. Labour retained the seat with 50.5 percent while the Conservatives were relegated to third with 11.5 percent.

The anti-EU party has still yet to elect its first MP but has now finished in second place in five of the last six by-elections. With the Liberal Democrats unpopular because of their role in the Coalition, UKIP has fast become the main protest vote party in UK politics.

Nigel Farage, UKIP's leader and an MEP, described his party's performance as "remarkable".

"I think if we get a by-election that comes up in the next few months that is not a safe Tory or Labour seat but is a marginal, we have every chance of winning it," he said.

UKIP's breakthrough will pile more pressure on Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron to take a tougher stance on immigration and the EU.

In February, he promised to renegotiate the terms of Britain's EU membership if he wins a second term in 2015 as prime minister before holding an 'in/out' referendum.

However, eurosceptic Tories are keen to bring the referendum forward to take away UKIP's trump card.

Despite a very modest performance in 2010, UKIP still claimed enough votes in a handful of marginal seats to deny the Conservatives a parliamentary majority.

Evidence suggests that while most UKIP voters are former Conservative supporters, the party is also taking votes from Labour and the Liberal Democrats.

Opinion polls suggest that most Britons want the country to have a looser, trade oriented relationship with the rest of the EU, while a small majority would vote to leave the bloc in a straight 'in/out' poll

UKIP also believe that they have a good chance of topping the poll at next year's European elections having finished in second place with 17 percent in 2009.

UKIP wants UK referendum on EU withdrawal

A British party has set up a nation-wide campaign aimed at gathering enough signatures to petition for a referendum on Britain's withdrawal from the EU - but legal experts have given the inititative little chance.

Analysis

Listening to Britain on EU reform

'Listening' was the watchword of William Hague's speech at the Koenigswinter conference last Friday, an understated - and welcome - approach after the fire and brimstone that has dominated recent debate on the UK's membership of the EU.

Austrian voters reject liberal pro-EU status quo

Counting continues, but after his victory in Sunday's election, conservative leader Sebastian Kurz is likely to form a coalition with the far-right and could become one of the most vocal critics of EU policies among the bloc's leaders.

Brexit 'deadlock' prevents move to trade negotiations

EU negotiator Barnier also said after the latest round of Brexit talks that with political will, progress can be achieved in the next two months - in time for the December EU summit to give the green light.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Should Seek Concrete Commitments From Azerbaijan at Human Rights Dialogue
  2. European Jewish CongressEJC Calls for New Austrian Government to Exclude Extremist Freedom Party
  3. CES - Silicones EuropeIn Healthcare, Silicones Are the Frontrunner. And That's a Good Thing!
  4. EU2017EEEuropean Space Week 2017 in Tallinn from November 3-9. Register Now!
  5. European Entrepreneurs CEA-PMEMobiliseSME Exchange Programme Open Doors for 400 Companies Across Europe
  6. CECEE-Privacy Regulation – Hands off M2M Communication!
  7. ILGA-EuropeHealth4LGBTI: Reducing Health Inequalities Experienced by LGBTI People
  8. EU2017EEEHealth: A Tool for More Equal Health
  9. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism a Key Driver for Job Creation and Enhanced Competitiveness
  10. CECENon-Harmonised Homologation of Mobile Machinery Costs € 90 Million per Year
  11. ILGA-EuropeMass Detention of Azeri LGBTI People - the LGBTI Community Urgently Needs Your Support
  12. European Free AllianceCatalans Have Won the Right to Have an Independent State

Latest News

  1. Malta shocked after car bomb kills crusading journalist
  2. Spanish and Catalan leaders continue stand-off
  3. May pleads for more as EU makes Brexit gesture
  4. EU united in backing Iran deal, after Trump criticisms
  5. 'Think of the patients!' cry warring EMA-host cities
  6. In Iceland: Europe woos Arctic allies
  7. Austrian voters reject liberal pro-EU status quo
  8. Turkey urges EU not to break off ties