Labour admits: We underestimated Nigel Farage's Ukip in the General Election | Politics | News
In scores of swing-seats won and retained by the Conservatives, number crunchers found the total vote for Ukip was higher than the Tory majority over Labour.Ukip only won one seat in Westminster, in Clacton, but came second in 120 seats.Many were in the north, with Ukip supporters now believing they can replace Labour as the party of the north.As Ukip continues its battle to become a major contender in the 2020 election, Labour supporters admit they should have done more to contend with the right-wing party.Political experts agree the Conservatives' repeated warnings that a minority Labour government would mean coming to an agreement with the SNP persuaded many Tory defectors to Ukip to "return home". Meanwhile Labour switchers remained with Ukip.Shadow transport secretary Michael Dugher told the New Statesman said Ed Miliband ignored the threat Ukip posed in working class communities like his Barnsley East seat and the party had failed to connect with its traditional supporters.He said: "It was too many pointy-heads and too few street fighters."As a leader, you've got to surround yourself with different people. Ed had some of those people, so I don't want to overstate it. But too many were just like him. And, for them, politics was 90% intellectual. If the big thing out there is anti-politics, you've got to show that, actually, you do get it, you are in touch, and you understand.One senior Labour source told the Independent: "Ukip damaged us much more than we expected."People who didn't want a Labour-SNP government voted in a Tory http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/ - http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/ - one, even though they were not enthusiastic about the prospect."In 48 seats retained by the Tories, their majority over Labour was lower than the number of votes for Ukip.The pattern was repeated in nine seats the Tories gained from Labour.They included the shocking Morley and Outwood seat where former shadow Chancellor Ed Balls sensationally lost his seat by 442 votes.Third place Ukip won 7,951 votes. In the 2010 election Ukip only won 1,506 votes in the seat.The pattern repeated as the Conservatives gained Bolton West, Corby, Derby North, Gower, Plymouth Moor View, Southampton Itchen, Telford and Vale of Clwyd.It is not clear exactly how many voters shifted from Labour to Ukip, but Robert Ford, senior politics lecturer at Manchester University, calculated Labour's support dropped by four percentage points in seats where Ukip advanced strongly."It is not just a case of Ukip taking Labour votes in places like Hartlepool and Dagenham. It also has the capacity to take from Labour the votes of working-class, totally anti-Tory people who consider Ukip an acceptable option."They see Ukip as a vote for English nationalism and sticking one up to the Establishment. It is not just that Ukip can directly take Labour votes, but that it can fuse them with Conservative votes to generate a threat where it would not otherwise exist."The 50 seats where Ukip had the biggest rise in its vote, 32 were held by Labour, 17 by the Conservatives and one by the Liberal Democrats.The news comes as Ukip leader Nigel Farage suggested he may stand for MP in a by-election in a Labour seat.Yesterday he told BBC Radio 5 Live: "Ukip significantly helped the Conservatives to win this election by tearing vast chunks of the Labour vote in the East Midlands, West Midlands and the north."I have been telling all the Westminster commentators for years that Ukip's greatest potential was among the Labour vote."Asked if he was waiting for the next Labour seat to become - golf - available so he could jump on the carousel again, Mr Farage replied: "I would look forward to a http://www.panoramio.com/user/sherlynpopelkagolf - sites to search at - by-election in a Labour seat very much indeed."