Much of England has voted in local elections today, but there was also a special election for a new MP for South Shields, a Labour constituency since 1935. Special elections are known for their low turn-outs and protest votes, but even so . . .
The BBC reports:
Labour have won the South Shields parliamentary by-election, retaining a seat they have held since 1935. Labour saw their majority halved to under 5,000 in Thursday’s poll as the [euroskeptic] UK Independence Party finished second, with a 24% share of the vote. The Conservatives were pushed into third while their Liberal Democrat coalition partners finished seventh.
The Guardian’s Jonathan Freedland notices something:
(The southern constituency of Eastleigh was another special election a few months back. UKIP polled 28 percent in that vote.)
I should add that UKIP is increasingly “about” more than euroskepticism, and what it is about may (as the Spectator’s James Forsyth notes here) be changing as the party begins to advance into traditional Labour territory.
Meanwhile, the results from the local elections are slowly coming in (most will be out tomorrow). The early signs are that UKIP leader Nigel Farage will have a very good day tomorrow.
David Cameron, not so much.