This just coming in from Dr Matthew Ashton on UKIP – and the resignation of party leader Nigel Farage.
“While UKIP share of the vote increased massively, the First Past Post System stopped them from reaping the benefits of this. This will cause them a lot of problems:
1) Farage’s resignation leaves a power vacuum at the heart of UKIP. Douglas Carswell, currently their only MP, is the obvious person to fill it. However, there is lots of evidence that he wants to take the party in a very different direction. On the plus side, his leadership might help detoxify the brand; on the negative, he lacks the charisma and media appeal of Farage. Equally would Farage be happy to permanently stay out of the limelight. There’s a real risk after his resignation he might try to remain as a ‘back seat driver’. This could potentially split the party and if their ratings drop then he might try to stage a coup at some point in the future.
2) The EU referendum is now highly likely to happen, but this presents its own problems. If we vote to leave the EU then what’s the point of UKIP? They’re essentially still a single issue party (or at least dominated by one issue). If the public vote to remain in then it would be very difficult for UKIP to campaign for another referendum for at least a decade.
3) There final issue is one of momentum. UKIP have been claiming for the last few years that political momentum is on their side. This result may not have shattered this idea (their share of the vote went up), but has severely dented it. In future, voters might be more wary of voting for a party that can’t see to win seats.“