UKIP tops European poll in the East of England

Winning candidates at the Euro election count in Chelmsford Seven MEPs are elected for the East of England in the European elections

The UK Independence Party has topped the poll in the European elections in the East of England.

UKIP got 100,000 more votes than the Conservatives - taking three seats.

The Tories also secured three seats with Labour winning the remaining seat, while the Lib Dems lost the seat they had won in 2009.

UKIP communications director Patrick O'Flynn was elected top of the party's list. UKIP candidates Tim Aker and Stuart Agnew were also elected.

Conservatives Vicky Ford, Geoffrey Van Orden and former UKIP, now Tory MEP, David Campbell-Bannerman were also voted in.

Richard Howitt MEP Labour's Richard Howitt was re-elected as one of the MEPs for the East of England

Labour's Richard Howitt, who has been an MEP since 1994, has been re-elected.

UKIP polled 542,812, up from 313,921 at the previous election, and gained a seat at the expense of the Liberal Democrats.

Two very clear conclusions can be drawn from the European election results in the East of England.

The first is we are a very eurosceptic region; most voters are not happy with our present relationship with Europe and many want us to leave the EU altogether.

The second is that UKIP is now a major political force in the East of England. In large parts of Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex it is the main challenger to the Conservatives.

The party has attracted a lot of people who have either never voted before or who are fed up with the Westminster parties.

At his victory rally Nigel Farage named Great Yarmouth, Basildon and "parts of Cambridgeshire" as places where the party is in the lead.

The loss of the highly respected Andrew Duff is a sign of how much Liberal Democrat support has collapsed across the region.

But there's little to celebrate for Labour as well. Their vote was up but that was largely due to former Lib Dem voters.

But the three Tory MEPs in the region held their seats while Labour increased its share of the vote.

Mr O'Flynn said: "Voters in the east, as in the rest of the UK, are concerned about open door migration, about pressure on green field land and about living standards, but they also wanted to give the other parties a bloody nose and we have to recognise UKIP was a convenient vehicle for that.

"We now need to convince people to stick with us. We need to build on our strategy, work on our vision and broaden our agenda.

"If we do that we can be confident of winning seats in parliament."

Mr Howitt said Labour must acknowledge UKIP's success but not mirror their policies.

He added: "Labour has seen a big increase in its vote in this region but we must acknowledge the concerns that UKIP has tapped into.

"We do not reject those concerns but we do reject the prescription offered by UKIP. We say that Farage is a mirage."

Seats in the European Parliament are allocated according to the D'Hondt system, a type of proportional representation.

Patrick O'Flynn UKIP's director of communications Patrick O'Flynn was among three of the party's MEPs elected in the East of England

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