ENG - The United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) is a political party in the United Kingdom which adheres to a centre-right ideology that has been identified as being eurosceptic, populist and conservative. Its primary policy is the withdrawal of the UK from the European Union.
UKIP's leadership position is currently held by former leader Jeffrey Titford since the party's former leader, Lord Pearson of Rannoch, who was elected as leader on 27 November 2009, stood down as leader on 17 August 2010. Lord Monckton, a former advisor to Margaret Thatcher, became joint Deputy Leader on 3 June 2010 and shares the role with David Campbell Bannerman, who remains the head of policy of the party.
UKIP currently holds twelve seats in the European Parliament and two in the House of Lords (the latter due to the defection of Conservative peers). It also has around 75 local councillors on principal authorities, town and parish councils. It reported a membership of 16,300 on 27 November 2009.
In the 2009 European elections, UKIP came second in the UK, beating the governing Labour Party with the share of the vote increasing by 0.4%, to 16.5%, to give it a total of thirteen seats in the European Parliament. At the UK General Election, 2010, the party polled 3.1% of the vote (an increase of 0.9% on the previous general election).
They gained no seats, but were the fourth largest party in terms of the popular vote.General election 2010
UKIP fielded 572 candidates in the 2010 general election, with their main target being Buckingham, where Nigel Farage stood against Speaker John Bercow - an imperfectly observed convention states that the main parties do not normally nominate candidates against an incumbent Speaker. UKIP aimed for a hung parliament in which they hoped the Liberal Democrats would drive through proportional representation as a key demand to form a coalition government. Lord Pearson demanded some candidates stand down in favour of eurosceptic Conservatives and Labour MPs, however, some refused to do so. This did not stop Lord Pearson from campaigning on behalf of the Conservative candidates citing that he was 'putting country before party'. These decisions drew some criticism from within the party from the likes of Michael Heaver of Young Independence, among others.
On the morning of polling day, Nigel Farage was injured when a light aircraft he was a passenger in crashed near Brackley, Northamptonshire.
In the election itself the party polled 3.1% of the vote (917,832 votes), but took no seats.
This made it the party with the largest percentage of the popular vote to win no seats in the election (In a fully proportional system, 3.1% of 649 seats would be just over 20 seats).
In their key target, despite Lord Tebbit and numerous senior Conservatives voicing support for Farage and a Conservative Home online survey put Farage on 64% and Bercow on 25%, Nigel Farage obtained just 17.4% of the vote in Buckingham - placing him third behind Bercow and independent John Stevens (Buckinghamshire Campaign for Democracy)- who had previously resigned from the Conservatives to found the Pro-Euro Conservative Party. UKIP also achieved third place in three other constituencies: North Cornwall, North Devon and Torridge and West Devon.
UKIP lost 5 sitting councillors in the UK local elections in May 2010. The only one of those to have been previously elected as a UKIP councillor was Steve Allison, in Hartlepool.
Nikki Sinclaire, Mike Nattrass and the EFD
In January 2010, Nikki Sinclaire MEP resigned from the Europe of Freedom and Democracy grouping in the European Parliament, to which UKIP belongs, stating that "the group contains parties who have a variety of extremist views which includes racism, anti-Semitism and violence". She also cited a deterioration of her relationship with Nigel Farage, who is co-leader of the EFD group. Sinclaire was subsequently expelled from UKIP.
On the 23rd of June 2010, Mike Nattrass MEP also resigned from the Europe of Freedom and Democracy group claiming that it did not represent his views.
He has been removed from the EFD Website but still remains a UKIP MEP.
UKIP was formed on September 3, 1993 at the London School of Economics by several members of the AntiFederalist League and the party's first electoral outing at the 1994 European elections saw 24 UKIP candidates secure 157,000 votes.
The party held its first annual conference at the London School of Economics in October 1995.
The first General Election contested by UKIP was in 1997 but it was not until 1999 that the party achieved its first major breakthrough. With the new system of proportional representation taking effect at European elections in 1999, voters were prepared to consider alternatives to the Conservatives, Labour and Lib Dems. UKIP won its reward taking three MEP seats.
By 2001, the party was able to contest most seats at the General Election and its long-term survival seemed assured.
The next major opportunity for UKIP came in the June 2004 European Elections, having broken the 'electability barrier' in 1999, the public already believed UKIP was capable of taking seats. A £2million campaign – the biggest yet – saw 2.6 million people (16%) vote UKIP. With the Liberal Democrats unceremoniously dumped into fourth place nationally, UKIP secured 12 MEPs.
UKIP followed this up in September 2004, finishing third in the Hartlepool by-election and relegating the Conservatives to fourth place. Some internal difficulties saw UKIP slip back slightly at the 2005 General Election. Nevertheless, 610,000 votes across 497 Paliamentary constitutencies still showed progress since 2001.
The arrival of Lord Pearson and Lord Willoughby de Broke in January 2007 gave UKIP its first Parliamentary representation. By 2008, UKIP had started to make inroads at Council elections and it was clear that the electoral tide as about to turn.
June 2009's European elections saw UKIP make history with the governing Labour Party embarrassed into third place by a resurgent UKIP. Never before has the government suffered the ignominy of national defeat to a party the size of UKIP. UKIP's 13 MEPs showed a big advance on 2004, not least with the UK's European Parliament representation dropping from 78 to 72 seats.
UKIP maintained its momentum on July 23, taking its best-ever Parliamentary by-election result at Norwich North, meanwhile Pete Reeve astonished Lib Dems and Conservatives in Ramsey by gaining County and District Council seats in local by-elections.
From just half a dozen people in 1994, UKIP established itself last year as the second most popular party nationwide, has developed unique policies for Britain's independence and regeneration and shifted the whole political debate towards the re-establishment of our independence.
Following the extraordinary success of the European Elections in June 2009, the Party set its sights high in the 2010 UK General Election and managed to field a record number of 557 candidates and win around 918,000 votes, an increase of 50% on the 2005 election and not far short of the declared 1 million target.
Deposits were saved in 18% of the seats contested, three times the number saved in 2005, and UKIP was considered to have been effective in determining the eventual outcome of a hung Parliament.
The Party now faces the challenge of modernising while building on it.
electoral success as it continues to be the lone mainstream party pushing for withdrawal of the UK from the European political union.