As it happened: Vote 2013 results and reaction

Key Points

  • Elections for 27 English county councils and seven unitary authorities as well as Anglesey in Wales have been held.
  • The Conservatives lose control of 10 councils but retain power in 18, and score 25% projected national vote share
  • Labour wins back control of two councils and has the highest projected share of the national vote - 29%
  • UKIP is the big story of the night, gaining 139 councillors and beating the Lib Dems into fourth place in projected vote share with 23%
  • Prime Minister David Cameron says his party will "work hard to win back" voters.
  • Labour wins the South Shields parliamentary by-election, retaining a seat it has held since 1935, but with a reduced majority.
VOTE 2013

35 Councils in England and Wales 2 Mayoral elections

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    The big story of these elections was UKIP's rise. BBC Political Editor Nick Robinson said it would go down in history as the day when UKIP emerged as a real political force. As he put it: "The people have spoken. Now it's time for the political classes to try to work out what on earth they meant."


    The Green Party continued its recent modest progress, gaining five council seats.


    The Lib Dems had another bad night at the polls, losing 124 council seats and coming fourth behind UKIP in the projected national share of the vote. They also suffered the indignity of coming seventh in the South Shields by-election with just 352 votes, their worst ever performance.


    Nick Clegg says the results are a staging post in the Lib Dems' journey from a party of protest to a party of power but that will be scant consolation for those who lost their seats.


    Ed Miliband's party won the highest share of the projected national vote - 29%. But that would not be nearly enough to win a general election and the party admits it still has much work to do before 2015.


    Labour improved on their poor performance in the 2009 election, gaining two councils and boosting its council seats by more than 200. They also held on to South Shields by-election, albeit with a much reduced majority.


    UKIP's success was largely at the expense of the Conservatives, although Labour was the strongest challenger to David Cameron's party in the Midlands and North. The Conservatives lost control of 10 councils, but retained 17 - meaning large parts of England remain Tory heartlands.


    With all the results now in it's time to take stock: UKIP did better than even they dared to predict, winning 147 council seats and a 25% projected national share of the vote.

    Marls Godwin, Southampton

    texts: I was conservative. Then they stopped listening to me. I want a referendum over Europe. The country is on its knees and we ring fence overseas aid? Yet some kids in our own country are malnourished! I vote UKIP because I want Britain to be great again.

    Malcolm Cowing

    tweets: Clegg says Lib Dems are on a journey! Yes right down to sewer to the land of no return.


    Average turnout was 31%, according to BBC analysis of key wards - down 10 points on 2009, when these seats were last up for grabs.

    Michael Tidd

    tweets: In my hometown, the Lib Dems would have lost their deposit in every seat, failing to get anywhere near 5% in any ward. Reap what you sow...

    Freddie, London

    emails: What exactly is the point of voting UKIP in county council election?? What are they going to do - have the county claim independence from Europe?? All it does is show that voters don't know what the councils actually do - and what they don't do.


    Who knows what will happen at the general election, says Nigel Farage, as he reflects on an extraordinary day for his party, but "one thing is certain - nothing will ever be quite the same again".


    Latest result: The Conservatives hold Northamptonshire. All the results are now in.

    Martin Rosen

    email: Despite the Government's unpopularity, the Conservative Party still has far more Councillors and are in charge of more councils than any other political party.


    Latest result: Durham County Council is a Labour hold. Just one more result to come now.


    Nigel Farage is like a bar of soap says BBC Political Editor Nick Robinson - the other party leaders can't get a grip on him. The UKIP leader finds this highly amusing.


    UKIP wants net migration to the UK to be limited to 50,000 a year, says Nigel Farage.


    A lively clash between Nigel Farage and Lib Dem Ed Davey over EU immigration. Mr Davey accuses the UKIP leader of not giving voters the full facts. Mr Farage says it would be "silly" to open the door to Bulgarians and Romanians given the state of the economy.


    "Weasel weasel weasel"- Nigel Farage's reaction to Chris Grayling saying that the Lisbon Treaty was already ratified when the Tories came to power, and so they could not have a referendum on it.

    Joe Pollard, Oxford

    texts: Interesting to see the results so far, whether or not UKIP will keep their gains at the next general election will be seen on their actions in local communities, especially the three where they are now the official party of opposition. A new four party system could well be on the horizon. Only time will tell.


    Nigel Farage admits UKIP is a long way off from gaining power nationally, sidestepping the question of what he would do if he ever got it.


    Just two councils left to declare their result: Northamptonshire and Durham.


    Latest result: The Isle of Anglesey, the only contest in Wales, has declared. It remains in No Overall Control.


    Tory Justice Secretary Chris Grayling stops short of endorsing John Baron's EU referendum call but says: "we cannot go into the next election with the electorate in any doubt" about the Conservative position on Europe.


    Lib Dem cabinet minister Ed Davey says his party would block any move towards an EU referendum in this Parliament saying it is not a "runner".


    Tory MP John Baron lays down the gauntlet to David Cameron - saying he will push for legislation in this Parliament for an EU referendum.

    Mike Ogborne, Bristol

    emails: When will the 3 big parties get the message and have a real debate about immigration instead of running scared all the time. This country can no longer sustain the current population let alone having more coming next year. At least UKIP wants it on the agenda well done to them.


    Tory MP John Barron says David Cameron's promise of a referendum on EU membership is "not yet believable".

    Ben, London

    emails: Actually the rise of The Green Party is much more impressive than UKIP. They have an MP and are steadily establishing themselves locally.

    1725: Mike Ogborne, Bristol

    emails: When will the 3 big parties get the message and have a real debate about immigration instead of running scared all the time. This country can no longer sustain the current population let alone having more coming next year. At least UKIP wants it on the agenda well done to them.


    Conservative MP John Baron says there is "deep public distrust" when they hear politicians talk about Europe.

    A Belmont

    texts: With Cameron in place the Tory Party are losing untold numbers of Tory voters like me

    D Headdon, Folkestone, Kent

    emails: Why doesn't anyone challenge Nigel Farage when he says ' they have given away our country'. What does he mean by that?

    D Williams, Thanet, Kent

    emails: If Mr Cameron wants to win back the voters he should do four things: 1. Ditch Mr Osborne, 2. Ditch Mr Gove 3. Ease up slightly on austerity for a while and 4. tighten up in the way illegal immigrants are dealt with - send them straight back to the last country they came from whether they have a passport or not!


    David Cameron tweets: ‏@David_Cameron There are lessons for all parties today. For the Conservatives-we need to focus even more on the economy, welfare & controlling immigration


    George Eaton, writing in the New Statesman, says he is disappointed by the Labour result. he says: "for a "good" result, the party needed to win back Derbyshire, Lancashire, Nottinghamshire and Staffordshire. We're still waiting for a final result from Nottinghamshire, but so far Labour has gained only Derbyshire, with Lancashire reverting to no overall control and Staffordshire remaining Tory."

    Robin Andrew, Derby

    emails: I voted for UKIP, I will also be voting them in the next election. The other parties are not in touch with the public !!!!

    David Harris, Southampton

    emails: UKIP have been so successful because they have three key policies which have connected with so many voters: Europe, Immigration & gay 'marriage'. The so-called 'big three' ignore those policies at their peril.

    Grace Wallis

    Tweets: I don't believe UKIP's success is a reflection of public opinion. I think it's more likely a result of voter apathy

    Sue, Bideford, Devon

    emails: Can someone please explain why people voted at a local level for a party that appears to speak on only one issue, and that is Europe? I'm more interested in what my councillor will do for my area, leaving the national debate for general and European elections.

    Chris Harper-Mears

    emails: Nigel Farage should now give up as an MEP and aim to become an MP asap. With that foothold he could be pulled into the Conservative Party as they will want his 25% of the national Vote, from where he could then make in-roads towards a Leadership race.


    Labour business spokesman Chuka Umunna says Labour have to "respect and take notice" of the number of people who voted UKIP.


    Robin Brant tweets: @robindbrant Ukip 'nazi salute' candidate alex wood tells me he came 2nd in his Somerset ward, behind the Conservatives.


    Lib Dem MP Paul Burstow says the Lib Dems are doing well in the "places that will matter" in the next general election.


    The Lib Dems are on a "journey", says Nick Clegg, from "a party of protest to a party of government". Losing "hard-working councillors" is a "regrettable" step along the way.


    The Conservatives lose 18 seats in Cornwall.


    Deputy Prime Minister and Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg says UKIP's rise is "understandable". He says: "UKIP is offering to deal with this country's complex problems. But I don't think they do have answers to the dilemmas we face as a country."


    Labour retains control of Durham County Council.


    Polling expert John Curtice says: "The best UKIP performance of the day seems to be in Ramsey in Cambridgeshire, where the party won no less than 67% of the vote. This is the place where UKIP has a majority on the town council. The party will claim this is a vote of confidence in its existing record of local government."


    Digesting the UKIP vote, Robert Woollard, chairman of the Conservative Grassroots group, says people are "fed up to the back teeth" with the European Union. He urges David Cameron to bring in "change from the top".


    Labour's Chuka Umunna says his party was looking to make 200 or so gains in the local elections, which it has managed. "You were not," Tory Communities Secretary Eric Pickles tells him on the BBC News Channel, suggesting the opposition had a somewhat higher target.

    Amy, Lincolnshire

    I believe that UKIP had such a success because their supporters are passionate about their beliefs, but the general non-UKIP public is so disillusioned with the way things are and have been, that they could not see that their vote could change things. People should bear in mind that they need to vote to even stay the same...


    There are two councils still to declare - Durham, due about 17:00 BST, and Northamptonshire, at 18:00 BST.


    Labour gains control of Nottinghamshire by one seat.

    Darren, Jarrow, Tyne and Wear

    texts: Maybe the UKIP surge will force David Cameron to rethink his position on the EU referendum


    According to polling expert Prof John Curtice, it now looks impossible for Labour to make 300 net gains, which was the target many believed it had on the grounds that doing so would simply reverse the losses the party suffered between 2005 and 2009.


    Suffolk County Council remains under Conservative control.


    Labour's Lord Reid says UKIP's success has echoes of when the newly formed SDP took votes from his party in the 1980s. He argues that this time "the big split is on the right", with the Conservatives suffering.


    A total of 61,385 first-preference votes were cast in the Doncaster mayoral election, with 753 rejected ballot papers.

    Pauline Short, Woodford Green, London

    emails: I really believe that UKIP making so many gains is due to one overriding factor - immigration.


    There are now just four councils in England to declare, as well as Anglesey, and the mayoral election in Doncaster.


    Cornwall County Council remains under no overall control.

    Nick Robinson Political editor

    tweets: PM eats own fruitcake/words re UKIP : it is "no good insulting" a party people have chosen to vote for..."we need to show respect"


    Polling expert John Curtice tells the BBC that, in the local elections, Labour has secured the largest share of the vote in Cambridge, whose MP is a Lib Dem. It did the same in Gravesham, Kent, whose MP is Conservative. "These are further examples that Labour will doubtless use to claim it is making progress where it matters," Professor Curtice says.


    Back in Doncaster, the BBC Yorkshire political editor Len Tingle says it's now well over six hours into the count for the mayoral election and recounting of first preference votes is still continuing.


    Nadine Dorries tells the BBC the "political landscape has changed significantly" and that the UK seems to be "at the beginning of a four-party system".


    Independent MP Nadine Dorries says UKIP has succeeded because it has "tapped into a vein of anger and discontent" and that people want the Conservatives to do something "more dramatic" in government.


    With the Conservatives losing more than 200 councillors so far, David Cameron says: "Look, I understand why some people who've supported us before didn't support us again, they want us to do even more to work for hard-working people to sort out the issues they care about. More to help with the cost of living, more to turn the economy round, more to get immigration down, to sort out the welfare system. They will be our focus, they are our focus, but we have got to do more."


    Labour leader Ed Miliband says Labour "can turn the country around" and his party needs to prove this in the run-up to the next general election.


    The Conservatives retain control of Kent County Council.

    Chris Mason Political correspondent

    Whatever happened to the fruitcakes? A big change of language from the prime minister in how he just described UKIP: "It is no good insulting a political party that people have chosen to vote for."

    Christopher, Truro, Cornwall

    texts: I have voted Conservative all my life and, until recently, was a long-time party member. However, this time I voted UKIP. I would not consider returning to the Conservative fold until and unless the party withdraws its homosexual marriage bill.

    Paul Stennett, Pickering

    emails: The UKIP position is the most dangerous thing to threaten this country since the rise of the far right in the 1970s.


    BBC Midlands political editor Patrick Burns says the Conservatives are "delighted" and "relieved" to have kept control of Staffordshire County Council in the face of Labour gains. UKIP lost two seats on the authority.


    Conservative Communities Secretary Eric Pickles says UKIP will now come under more scrutiny on policies. The party is no longer the "none of the above" option, he adds.

    Prime Minister David Cameron on Friday

    The prime minister once described UKIP as "fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists".


    David Cameron says he will "focus" on improving voters' lives as he attempts to win votes for his party. He adds that there is no point "insulting" UKIP.


    Polling expert John Curtice tells the BBC: "It is quite clear that a particularly strong UKIP performance was achieved mostly at the Conservatives' expense, though the Lib Dems and Labour evidently suffered to a smaller extent as well."


    Staffordshire County Council remains under Conservative control.


    The Conservatives lose their majority in Cambridgeshire, which goes to No Overall Control.


    On the projected national share of the vote, this is the first time ever that none of the three main Westminster parties has been estimated to have failed to perform well enough to suggest that they would win at least 30% of the vote in a General Election.

    This equals the worst-ever Conservative performance in the BBC's PNS series, previously recorded during John Major's administration in 1995.

    Lord Ashcroft, former Conservative deputy chairman

    Congratulations to the "clowns" and "fruitcakes"!!! That worked!!


    Prime Minister David Cameron responds to news of UKIP's gains, saying: "We need to show respect for people who have taken the choice to support this party and we are going to work really hard to win them back."

    1455: Breaking News

    The projected national share of the vote, as calculated by the BBC: Labour 29%, Conservatives 25%, UKIP 23% and Lib Dems 14%.

    Chris Mason Political correspondent

    Labour leader Ed Miliband says: "I recognise the vote for UKIP and the two-thirds of people who didn't vote, that there are still lots of people saying can anyone turn this country around?"


    Collin Brewer, the independent Cornish councillor who said disabled children should be "put down", has been re-elected. Mr Brewer resigned from representing Wadebridge East in February, but decided to run again, saying he had a "good record" of service.

    Gavin Robbie, Norwich, Norfolk

    emails: The UKIP leaflet had Nigel Farage's face all over it stating that they would cut out European bureaucracy and stop immigration. Bearing in mind that this was for Norfolk county council, it would be interesting to know exactly how they would do these things acting on a local scale. There was no mention of any issues that affected us locally.


    Green leader Natalie Bennett says the party "had, really, a very good day". It has reached beyond its traditional stronghold, she adds.


    Education Secretary Michael Gove tells the BBC that the mainstream political parties often seem boring like "pasteurised cheese", while UKIP comes across like the more interesting "stinky" varieties. A pungent Stilton, rather than a ripe Roquefort, one imagines.


    Tory MP Adam Afriyie says the political class is not "connected" enough to the public. He says a "wholly Conservative" government, rather than a coalition, is needed to deliver what people, rather than the "political elite", want.


    Conservatives have lost control of Oxfordshire County Council, being one seat short of a majority.


    West Sussex remains under Conservative control.


    Surrey County Council remains under Conservative control, with 11 wards still to declare.


    The Conservatives lose the Isle of Wight, whose council moves to No Overall Control.


    Officials in Doncaster are now counting all mayoral election votes for a third time. Discrepancies with spoiled papers are to blame, according to the returning officer.


    Conservative former cabinet minister John Redwood says UKIP's surge shows a referendum on leaving the EU should happen soon.

    Chris Mason Political correspondent

    A political twist on all those old mother-in-law jokes: Jan Ozog, a Conservative, has held off the challenge of his UKIP mother-in-law Jo Shippam, in Dartford West #vote2013


    With around two-thirds of the seats now declared, UKIP has made 74 net gains and Labour 127. Polling expert John Curtice tells the BBC: "At this rate UKIP would appear to have a reasonable prospect of making 100 net gains, while Labour seems to be struggling to achieve the widely quoted 200."

    Labour leader Ed Miliband

    Labour leader Ed Miliband visited Hastings, East Sussex, on Friday. He tweeted: "The conversation about bringing change to Britain continues. Thanks to all who took part in Hastings today".

    Chris Mason Political correspondent

    Education Secretary Michael Gove drops a strong hint that the prime minister will pointedly change his language about UKIP. Don't expect David Cameron to refer to the party as full of "loonies, fruitcakes and closet racists" again.

    John Prescott, former Labour deputy prime minister

    tweets: Tories lose council seat to Labour in Witney - Cameron's constituency. In fact, the Tory came 3rd, behind Ukip!


    The Conservatives hold Leicestershire. Twenty-two results have been declared now - 13 still to go.


    Polling expert Prof John Curtice says of Norfolk, where the Conservatives lost to No Overall Control: "Much like Lincolnshire, this is a council that the Tories were not expecting to lose to NOC but, as in Lincolnshire, the party seems to have suffered at the hands of UKIP who have managed so far to win 14 seats in the county."


    The Tories retain control of Shropshire.


    Latest results: The Tories lose Lancashire to No Overall Control after Labour gain 23 seats, but they retain control of Wiltshire.

    Nick Robinson Political editor

    tweets: Clearest sign of changed political times - Labour & Tory spokesmen falling over each other to congratulate UKIP and to say they respect them


    In Lincolnshire, three members of the Ransome family took three of the wards in the town of Boston. Sue Ransome, the mother, says they are a politicised family but are not clowns or fruitcakes as critics have called UKIP members. Her two daughters also won seats. "Mainly we just all agree, we've all agreed right from day one. And the girls couldn't wait, as soon as they were old enough to vote - they wanted to stand. And it's lovely to see that finally, [because] they've all stood before, so it's not a first time event."


    Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman tells The World at One: "People weren't saying we want Nigel Farage running NHS - they're saying we feel disconnected, fearful about living standards - and we hear that and we don't have to continue with the economy bumping along the bottom. There is hope and Labour can give that."


    In the Doncaster mayoral election, the recount of the first preference votes has just started, as it's too close to call between Independent Peter Davies and Labour's Ros Jones.


    More results: The Conservatives hold Worcestershire but lose Norfolk to No Overall Control.


    Latest results: Labour gain control of Derbyshire County Council. The Tories hold North Yorkshire, Buckinghamshire and West Sussex but lose East Sussex to No Overall Control.


    Labour's Alan Johnson rejects claims Ed Miliband does not have enough policies. "If anything he is showing too much leg" this far from a general election, says the former home secretary.


    The BNP has lost its only remaining county councillor, who represented the Padiham and Burnley West seat in Lancashire. The party had three councillors elected at the county level in 2009, but Leicestershire's recently left the party to become an independent, and Hertfordshire's defected to the English Democrats.


    What will UKIP councillors be like? Not slavish adherents to the party line, according to deputy leader Paul Nuttall, as they will not be "whipped" to vote as a group.


    It will be "very difficult" to keep Nigel Farage out of the 2015 general election televised leader debates if the party continues its current trajectory, argues UKIP deputy leader Paul Nuttall on the World at One. If there is a TV debate, that is...


    UKIP has won its first ever seat on Worcestershire County Council - with Anthony Baker taking St Mary's ward from the Tories by 50 votes.


    Conservative MP Douglas Carswell tweets his analysis of election results coverage: "BREAKING: Westminster pundit knows what caused people outside dinner party land to vote for UKIP. Other pundits poised to agree."


    Speaking on The World at One, Education Secretary Michael Gove says that Labour have done "poorly", and come the next general election many people who voted UKIP on Thursday will vote Conservative. He described any Conservative leadership speculation as "bonkeroony".


    One Conservative MP told Wato: "It's time for a leadership election now". Having one soon would give a new leader time to settle in before the next election, he added.


    Graham Marsh, a former Conservative councillor in Lincolnshire, lost his seat last night. He told the The World at One: "My rock-bed supporters were absolutely fed up by coalition policy," and he said that they would not vote Conservative again unless there were some big policy changes.


    UKIP's leader has said he will stand in the next general election. So, what are his policies? Read a round-up of what we already know.


    blogs Lib Dem minister says the UK is now a 'four party political system'


    BBC Radio 4's The World at One is talking about the local election results right now. Listen here.

    Conservative MP Chris Skidmore

    tweets: Amazing results for Conservatives in Bristol- gained Clifton, Horfield, Avonmouth


    UKIP has now won eight seats on Kent County Council - their first ever seats on the council. The Conservatives currently have 36 seats - they need seven more to retain overall control.

    Labour MP Jonathan Ashworth

    tweets: Im over the moon - Labour take all 3 seats in Hucknall (2 off Tories, 1 off UKIP) in key Tory marginal Sherwood constituency #onenation


    Polling expert John Curtice says that not gaining control of Cumbria County Council is "the first Labour disappointment" of these elections.


    Cumbria remains under no overall control.


    Nick Robinson pours cold water on Vernon Bogdanor's speculation about an imminent EU referendum. "This is a coalition government, and the coalition controls what proposals are put in the Queen's Speech," he notes. A push for a referendum from the PM would be emphatically rejected by the Lib Dems, he predicts.


    BBC's Nick Robinson says a recent opinion poll suggested five times as many UKIP voters distrusted the MMR jab compared with other voters. They don't trust what the "men in suits" tell them, he adds.


    Vernon Bogdanor, of Kings College London, gives further views on the causes of UKIP's success. He says: "This is a very powerful message by the voters that they're not being listened to the party leaders."


    "It's a very remarkable day in British politics," constitutional expert Vernon Bogdanor tells BBC News. The voters are using a local election to send a message about a prominent issue in national politics, he argues: Europe. The results mean that we might even now see legislation on an EU referendum in next week's Queen's Speech, he believes. Prime Minister David Cameron has already pledged to hold a referendum - but not before 2015.

    1250: Patrick O'Flynn, Daily Express,

    tweets: A couple of years back I was the only national newspaper hack who bothered to go to UKIP conferences. Bet there'll be plenty at the next one


    Labour MP Sadiq Khan says: "We have to 'fess up. When we were in government we got some immigration policy wrong."


    The Conservatives lose Warwickshire County Council, which is now under no overall control.


    Conservative MP Tim Loughton says the election results represent a "kick in the pants from UKIP", adding that it is "a kick in the pants to everyone, not just us".


    UKIP is increasingly seen by English voters as "the party which best stands up for English interests", according to the director of the centre-left IPPR think tank, Nick Pearce. "There is an undercurrent of English national sentiment that has been growing in recent years and this appears to be propelling UKIP forward. Tories traditionally feel more confident that they are the patriotic party; but there are signs that complacency on their part is handing a gift to UKIP," he says, unveiling some new research on Englishness.

    1239: Conservative MP Greg Hands

    tweets: Looks like Labour might come 3rd overall in % vote share.


    Conservative MP for Mid-Norfolk George Freeman, writing on the website Conservative Home, says: "Nigel Farage's message is chiming with decent mainstream Conservatives who have traditionally been the bedrock of the Conservative Party."

    1233: Labour MP Caroline Flint

    tweets: Welcome cllr @mandytelford to the Labour Cllr/MP couple teams. Great result in Cumbria.

    1231: CCHQ Press Office

    tweets: Can Miliband match or beat Michael Foot? In 1981 Labour took maj. control of: Cumbria, Lancs, Derbyshire, Staffs, Northumberland, and Notts.

    1229: Lib Dem Press Office

    tweets: In @timfarron's consituency of Westmorland & Lonsdale, Lib Dems took 53.8% of the vote and won 12 seats (+2). Superb result.


    Lib Dem Business Secretary Vince Cable compares the local elections to the recent general election in Italy, where a new party came from nowhere, "not standing for anything much, with a sense of humour".


    Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps describes Labour taking control of Derbyshire County Council as "not a surprising result".


    Labour takes Derbyshire County Council, after losing control of it in 2009.

    1218: Tony Grew

    tweets: Hard to imagine the general election 2015 TV debates having anything other than four podiums after today. #UKIP


    Always one for a quick refresher, UKIP leader Nigel Farage has been handed a pint of beer outside Westminster's Marquis of Granby pub, a favoured haunt for politicos. He will feel the need to wet his whistle with a busy day of media interviews ahead of him.

    1211: Telegraph Politics

    blogs: The rise of Ukip is very, very funny


    Labour's vote share is up by seven percentage points compared with 2009, according to polling expert John Curtice. But it is still five points lower than it was in 2005, he adds.


    Conservative Councillor Alexis McEvoy, defeated in the South Waterside ward of Hampshire County Council by a UKIP candidate, blames her defeat on the leadership of David Cameron. Writing in the Daily Telegraph, she says: "There is a problem with the people at the top of our political parties. They just don't listen. They don't listen to ordinary people or our concerns. The European Union referendum is a good example. David Cameron says he'll have a referendum, but no-one believes a word he says. I don't believe a word he says, and I'm a lifelong Conservative."


    Labour could be about to take control of Derbyshire County Council. So far it has gained 12 seats from other parties. If it holds the seats it won in 2009, it will wrest the authority from being under no overall control. Counting continues.


    The leaders of the main parties are yet to publicly comment on the results declared so far, but BBC political correspondent Chris Mason has been looking at what these elections could mean for them.


    Election fever is gripping a small town in East Sussex - sort of. Turnout in Lewes was 45%, far higher than in most areas of the country.


    We are getting close to result of first-preference votes in the Doncaster mayoral election. It is almost certain to go into a second-preference run-off between Labour's Ros Jones and defending independent Peter Davies, the BBC's Len Tingle says.


    Polling expert Professor John Curtice says there is no sign that UKIP is doing better in places where the HS2 planned rail line will run. The party, which opposes the project, is averaging 25% in seven key wards on the route which have been declared so far.


    As the morning draws to a close, we are awaiting the next batch of results. Eight out of 34 councils have declared their full results so far, with UKIP gaining 42 seats and Labour 30. The Conservatives have lost 66 seats and the Lib Dems 15. It looks set to be a busy afternoon.

    Jeff Cowles, Rotherham

    emails: I've become disenchanted with politics and certainly with EU and the issue of immigration. I shall therefore be voting UKIP in all future elections.


    Winning council seats across England, challenging for victory in Westminster by-elections, overtaking the Lib Dems in the polls - how did UKIP go from the fringes to a force in British politics?


    Lib Dem Business Secretary Vince Cable says people will "respect" the fact that his party has had to take "difficult decisions" in government when they vote at the next general election. The Conservatives will suffer if they "abandon the centre ground of politics" to deal with the threat from UKIP, he tells Sky News.


    Tony Blair's former policy adviser Lord Liddell wins the Wigton ward on Cumbria County Council for Labour, in a gain from the Conservatives.

    Roy Groombridge, Stevenage, Herts

    emails: I voted UKIP at the local elections and will continue to do so until the Conservatives start to listen to what people want.


    Polling expert Professor John Curtice says: "The Lib Dems are not losing a barrow-load of seats despite their heavy loss of votes because most of the seats they are defending are against a Conservative challenger and the Conservative vote is also dropping heavily. Thus the Lib Dems are hanging on to seats while losing votes."


    Lib Dem Jeremy Browne, MP for Taunton Dean, says that there is "unease" about "the way politics has been done and the style of politics" seen in Westminster. He described the Labour winner's speech in South Shields as "phoney" and "stage managed", and wondered if she had any opinions of her own.


    News on Cumbria County Council: With counting continuing, 10 of the 11 seats in the town of Barrow are now held by Labour. Conservative Ray Gizelli says it's a disaster for his party, the BBC's Neil Bradford reports.


    Former Tory MP Nadine Dorries told ITV that UKIP's local election result success is '"the day the political landscape significantly shifted. The rise of UKIP will hopefully force David Cameron and George Osborne to reconnect with true Conservative values and work hard over the next two years to win back the core Tory vote they appeared to be determined to jettison as part of their personal quest to modernise the Conservative Party." She now sits as an independent, after being suspended by the party following her participation in a reality TV show.


    Local government minister Brandon Lewis, the Tory MP for Great Yarmouth, says his party should show people that it cares about the same issues as them. Policies on immigration, welfare and the economy are "right" and the Conservatives must "work very, very hard" to demonstrate this, he adds.


    UKIP leader Nigel Farage, currently an MEP for south-east England, tells BBC Radio Kent that he will stand at the next general election.


    Lib Dem Baroness Kramer believes that the Lib Dems will start to do better if the economy recovers. She said: "We've obviously been hurt by being in government. Until the economy turns, that will continue to be true."

    Laura Mitrea, Romanian national studying in the UK

    emails: I am disappointed that a person like Mr Farage, who is clearly working on people's fear and reluctance for change, has such an influence in British politics.


    Lib Dem Baroness Kramer says her party has had a "mixed bag". It is focusing on its "heartlands and strongholds" and has "areas of real strength", she adds.


    More from polling expert Prof John Curtice: "So far UKIP's performance in the wards that have been declared today are averaging 25%, little different from the 26% that was recorded in the overnight counts. There seems little reason so far to anticipate that our understanding of the UKIP performance is going to change significantly during the day."


    With nine results through so far in Bristol, the Liberal Democrats have lost six seats. The Greens and Conservatives have taken two of them, and Labour and an independent candidate one each. The full results for the city council are expected by about 15:00 BST.


    Conservative MP Sarah Wollaston, from Totnes, Devon, gives her take on UKIP: "The issue with Farage is people like him, he has that blokey friendliness." She adds: "It's not just about the message, it's about the messenger."

    Gareth Smith

    tweets: may have voted @ukip but their candidates show lack of understanding how tax works, as driver AND cyclist this concerns me

    UKIP branding

    Some UKIP candidates took the opportunity to wear plenty of branded items.


    Professor John Curtice has been looking at how the "smaller" parties have done in wards where they also fielded candidates in 2009. UKIP is up 14 points at 26%. Meanwhile, the Greens are down three points at 7% and the British National Party is down 11 points at 4%.


    UKIP has taken five seats in Norfolk so far, as counting continues. They are in Gorleston, Dereham South, Marshland North, Breydon, and Gaywood North and Central.


    Political blogger Guido Fawkes writes: "Defeated Tory councillors are already laying the blame firmly at Dave's door this morning."


    Tory MP Sarah Wollaston says her party is "doing well" on issues like immigration and crime, but argues it needs to do better at "getting this across".

    David Hankey, Great Easton, Leicestershire

    emails: Farage and the rest of the country know full well that mid-term elections whether national or local throw up all sorts of oddities. UKIP is a protest party, with a single protest policy of removing the UK from the EU. They stand for nothing else and folk who want to make a protest will be attracted to them. The acid test will be the general election in 2015.


    For Labour, shadow justice minister Sadiq Khan says he is "optimistic" after his party gained seats in areas where it was wiped out in the 2009 local elections, such as parts of Essex.


    Mr Hawthorne continued: "This is, at the end of the day, a mid-term election. People knew that this was an opportunity to send a message and they're sending that message, but I do firmly believe that government's doing a good job and I believe that if we get that message right for 2015, many of these voters will come back to us."


    Mark Hawthorne, a Conservative councillor in Gloucestershire, who led the council before it fell to no overall control, called on party leader David Cameron to do more: "I think the prime minister is delivering on what the nation needs at the moment, which is a government that's trying to get our economy back on track, trying to create jobs and growth, but I think the message that people were saying in the ballot box was that the Conservative voice needs to be a lot louder."

    1047: Robert Carter, Northallerton, N Yorks

    emails: I voted UKIP because it is the only way I have of making the Conservatives aware of my concerns for the future of Britain. Grant Shapps witters on about the Conservative Party listening to people's concerns but I notice he doesn't list the two main issues that I suspect are the real reason so many usually Conservative voters, like myself, voted UKIP, immigration and the EU.


    The first results from Anglesey Council are expected from about 11:30 BST.


    Polling expert Prof John Curtice tells the BBC: "There is little evidence to support the presumption that UKIP are doing substantially better in areas of Conservative strength." In wards where the Tories won more than 45% of votes in 2009, UKIP's average share is running at 28%, just above the national average of 27%, he adds.


    Defeated Conservative councillor Alexis McEvoy has expressed annoyance at losing her seat on the Hampshire County Council to a UKIP rival. She writes in the Telegraph: "For UKIP to come from nowhere like this, you have to ask, what is going on? There is a problem with the people at the top of our political parties. They just don't listen. They don't listen to ordinary people or our concerns."


    BBC East political correspondent Andrew Sinclair reports: "Early indications from Norfolk are that there's been a strong UKIP surge."


    And in Wiltshire the returning officer is predicting a "rather low" turnout of possibly around 32% - down from 43% in 2009.


    Some more turnout figures are coming through: for Doncaster's mayoral election it was 28%.


    Turnout for the Cumbria County County election was 32.6%, down from 39.6% in 2009.

    Ex-Lib Dem leader Paddy Ashdown

    tweets: It's not the end; it's not the beginning of the end. But it might be the end of the beginning of the fight back.


    The first results for elections to Northumberland County Council are expected from 11:00 BST, the BBC's Adrian Pitches says.


    Polling expert Professor John Curtice has been number-crunching UKIP's performances. He tells the BBC its share of the vote was 27% in Essex and 25% in Hampshire. In Lincolnshire it was 24%. The party took 22% of votes in Dorset, 20% in Somerset and 16% in Gloucestershire.

    Henry, Worcestershire

    emails: It really grates on me hearing all the Labour and Conservatives talking about UKIP as a protest vote. They don't see the votes as a legitimate challenge to the main parties, which will anger more voters. Should they not consider the "threat" of UKIP, they will struggle in the next general election - I can see a Tory/UKIP coalition. I will pass one message vote was not a protest one!


    The BBC's Dale Templar reports: "Wiltshire count ahead of schedule - approximately one hour. Lower turnout than last time, when 43%."


    Labour MP Tom Watson argues that UKIP's rise is worse news for the Tories than for his own party. He accuses David Cameron's party of "trivialising" the elections by focusing on individual UKIP candidates. "You look at the poll this morning which shows that six times as many people are voting against the Tories for UKIP than they are for the other parties," he adds. "That's a very serious problem for David Cameron and he's not really addressed it."


    Counting has begun in Anglesey, where the turnout was 50.5%. This is higher than the Welsh average at the 2012 council elections, but lower than the last island council elections in 2008.

    David Miliband

    tweets: Congrats @EmmaLewellBuck and Labour team in #southshields. Holding 50% of vote very good result.


    UKIP leader Nigel Farage laughs off cabinet member Ken Clarke's attack on UKIP as being a party of clowns last weekend: "I'm going to ask Ken Clarke to speak at our national conference. He alone put 3% on our vote."

    Claire Ambler, Dorset

    emails: I am fed up with the three main parties ignoring the electorate. Perhaps now, the parties will take more notice of us. Back in the Seventies I voted to stay in Europe. I was voting for a trading agreement NOT for a United States of Europe and I certainly was not voting for mass immigration.

    Chris Mason Political correspondent

    The Conservative leader of Warwickshire County Council has lost his seat of Weddington to the Green Party.

    Nigel Farage

    UKIP leader Nigel Farage gave the thumbs-up to waiting journalists earlier.

    Mark Smith

    tweets: I would vote #UKIP at future elections as they stand for two key principles: Sovereignty and Democracy - unlike ConLibLab


    Labour MP Mary Creagh says UKIP's biggest threat is to the Liberal Democrats. She says UKIP is "a threat to all three main parties.... UKIP could replace the Lib Dems as the party of protest."

    Eric Dolby, Essex

    emails: Many of your correspondents have dismissed the UKIP's success as a protest. This may well be, but many of them are saying the people's concerns must be listened to. This shows that although it MAY be a protest, it does have an impact which will be disregarded at the peril of those concerned. Well done UKIP.


    Among UKIP's victories was on Hampshire County Council - including two in disgraced former MP Chris Huhne's town of Eastleigh. The party won 10 seats, but the Conservatives have retained control with 45 out of 78 councillors. Former cabinet minister Mr Huhne, a Lib Dem, was jailed in March for perverting the course of justice, and his party lost both Eastleigh council seats to UKIP.


    BBC polling expert John Curtice has been looking in more depth at UKIP's success. He says the party "does better in places with relatively few graduates; it does worse in places with many graduates. This appears to be the sharpest difference of all." In addition, UKIP does well in places "with a relatively high level of people who claim a religious identity" and those "with more older people".


    Lib Dem MP Simon Hughes accuses UKIP leader Nigel Farage of fear-mongering with immigration estimates: "You stoke up people's fears by stating the highest possible figures."


    UKIP deputy leader Paul Nuttall accuses the main parties of running a "smear campaign". He tells the BBC that they have been attempting to dig up scandals on UKIP candidates, but adds that his party will not respond, because it is "better than that".


    Conservative MP Bob Neill explains UKIP's success as a protest vote: "Mid-term, it's no surprise that people want to give the dominant party in their area a bit of a kicking."

    Tony, Gloucestershire

    texts: I voted UKIP this time because of their positive policies on wasted cash in Europe, grammar schools, and although I think they are wrong on smoking in public places, they are the best fit for my beliefs. I did NOT vote to protest & I do think that if we can change the balance of power at Westminster we can get sensible reform implemented. If that means a UKIP/ conservative coalition I would be happy.


    The Daily Mail assesses the impact of the UKIP success on Conservative policies. James Chapman writes: "David Cameron will attempt to settle Tory nerves in the wake of today's election results by vowing to focus on the economy and immigration. Nanny-state measures unpopular with traditional Tories - including plans for a minimum price for alcohol and plain cigarette packs - have been ditched from next week's Queen's Speech."

    0924: Nick Robinson Political editor

    says the big story of the night is the success of UKIP: "The stranglehold of the three big parties have had on British politics has been broken."

    Timothy O'Brien, Thatcham

    emails: Although I have never voted UKIP I find them seductive, despite the loony elements, because they are not part of the establishment... did not all go to the same school and frankly know what a loaf of bread costs. Unlike Con/Lab/Libs. I really thirst for something new, we need a change


    UKIP leader Nigel Farage, pleased with his party's results, says: "We're getting 25% of the vote. The entire establishment - they're shocked and stunned. This is a real sea change in British politics."


    The Daily Telegraph's deputy political editor, James Kirkup, notes a more emollient Conservative tone towards UKIP in light of the latter's much-improved showing. He writes: "In essence, the new Tory message to UKIP is this: We're listening, and what we're hearing is that you want is a more Conservative government, so we'll do more Conservative things."

    Keith Brown, Baldock, Hertfordshire

    emails: It will be good for UKIP to move on from the protest vote, where they will have to address real policies and not simply survive on populist sound bites. Remember, they could also influence health, welfare, defence, education, the economy, and above all the future your children will inherit. Let them be tested in the real world and then decide on their prospects for the future.


    In the Sun, political editor Tom Newton Dunn is unsure about the significance of UKIP's success. He asks: "Is this just classic mid-term protest stuff, or are the political plates really shifting? That's the question that Westminster's nervous political elite were all asking last night. The truth is, despite all the guff you hear about it today, we won't really know for two years until the next general election."

    Richard Crinson, Staffordshire

    emails: I have always voted Conservative but will never vote for them again because of the damage they have done to the UK. UKIP offer a real alternative as a party connected with the people and not aloof like the Tories.


    Labour MP Mary Creagh, speaking about Labour's win in South Shields, says voters know that "Labour is the party that can stand up to the Conservatives."


    BBC political correspondent Louise Stewart writes: "The parties in government will comfort themselves that it's mid-term. People wanted to give them a bloody nose. But as one UKIP member said to me: 'If this is a protest vote, it's a bloody big protest.'"

    Kenneth Millar , Belfast

    tweets: labour were always going to get a reduced maj in South Shields. Very difficult to outperform a man who should have been PM

    0848: Chris Mason Political correspondent

    The Conservative backbencher Peter Luff has reflected on Twitter on the rise of UKIP: "In the great circus of life, clowns have their place but they shouldn't become the ringmaster."

    Andy Dwelly, West Sussex

    tweets: Woken up to find #UKIP looking like the official opposition.

    Peter Moran, Leek, Staffordshire

    emails: I do feel that the main parties should not take the UKIP vote as just a protest. I'm 67 and have voted Labour all my life. This time I have voted UKIP. Like many I know we are fed up with the main parties not understanding the harm that is being done to communities, local economies and ordinary folk. Ignore UKIP at your peril in my opinion. Main stream parties are fast losing credibility with the masses in my view.


    Tory MP Sir Gerald Howarth says: "As a Conservative I do think one needs to be concerned because some of [UKIP's] policies on Europe and on immigration are issues which are of great concern to the mainstream of the Conservative Party." He continues: "I think our priorities have to change."

    Andrew Neil, Political correspondent

    tweets: Early results for UKIP are nothing short of sensational.

    0831: Chris Mason Political correspondent

    UKIP leader Nigel Farage, speaking on the BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "We want to fundamentally change British politics. There is a very good example of this. 25 years ago the Reform Party in Canada started. Everybody said you are wasting your time under the first-past-the-post election system. They won one by-election and then at the next general election they were the biggest party in the Canadian parliament. It can happen."

    David J Astall, Preston

    emails: It's a pity really that UKIP has no real policies otherwise they may be a force to be reckoned with. But at the moment they appear to be the protest vote.


    The Lib Dems have had a very disappointing night, according to BBC polling expert John Curtice. Their overall results look set to be at least as bad as those in last year's local elections and the South Shields by-election, in which the party came seventh with 352 votes, was their worst performance so far, he says.

    MP Emma Lewell-Buck

    The first woman MP for South Shields, Emma Lewell-Buck, has made much of her local roots, and connection to the man some claim to be the inventor of the lifeboat.


    UKIP deputy leader Paul Nuttall tells BBC One's Breakfast his party is "leading the political argument" on issues such as Europe and immigration. "Everyone knows what UKIP stands for, as it does exactly what it says on the tin," he says.

    Gavin Skilton, Twickenham

    emails: I find it a little strange that there has not been more focus on Labour who should have done much better than they have. The South Shields result was never in doubt really, but they won with a reduced majority when one would have expected an increase and haven't been making hay at the coalition's expense elsewhere.


    How good are the results so far for Ed Miliband? BBC polling expert John Curtice says that as anticipated, Labour have improved on their very poor performance in the 2009 election, but the average increase in their share of the vote is well below what would have been expected given their current standing in the national opinion polls. He adds: "Although the party is clearly heading for substantial net gains of seats, they look set to flatter to deceive."


    One of the overnight results was in the North Tyneside mayoral election. Labour's Norma Redfearn won, with 55% of the votes at first count, meaning a second one was not needed. She defeated Conservative incumbent Linda Arkley, who took 36% of the votes, and Liberal Democrat John Appleby, with 8%.

    Sam Dellaway, Croydon

    emails: I can only hope that UKIP don't make anymore gains, their stance on gay rights and marriage equality and indeed on many other issues expose this party for what they really are, the BNP with a more socially acceptable facade. I can honestly say if they make it into parliament I'm on the first plane out of this country!


    Eurosceptic Conservative MP John Baron tells BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I take the view UKIP are not simply a protest party." The surge in support reflects many people's "genuine concerns", he adds.


    To keep across all the council results, check out our Vote 2013 page.

    James Wand, Nottingham

    emails: The rise of UKIP is one the main parties need to respect and acknowledge. It may just be a protest vote, but a vote nonetheless and what the big three now need to do is listen and talk about the issues that the British public is concerned about, including immigration.

    0808: Chris Mason Political correspondent

    While Labour retained the South Shields parliamentary seat, the Liberal Democrats limped home in seventh in the by-election - just 155 votes ahead of the Official Monster Raving Loony Party.

    0806: Chris Mason Political correspondent

    Losing Conservative candidate in Hampshire, Alexis McEvoy, who was beaten by UKIP, says: "I hope the government will listen because they never do. They are arrogant, out of touch and because of them good councillors have now been lost."

    Vote counting

    Counting is continuing throughout Friday, with only a handful of councils out of 34 declaring overnight.


    So far, UKIP has gained 42 councillors and leader Nigel Farage is rather excited, hailing a "remarkable" night for his party. He tells ITV's Daybreak: "We have always done well in European elections... but people haven't seen us as being relevant to local elections or, in some ways, general elections. So for us to be scoring, on average, 26% of the vote where we stand is, I think, very significant indeed."

    Steven DeQuincey in Southampton

    tweets: Someone needs to enlighten me on why UKIP are worth voting for. Shocked they have won so many seats in Hampshire!

    Daniel McGuinness, London

    tweets: Lib Dems losing their deposits. Spectacular. A reminder that there are always consequences for the choices you make. #vote2013 #libdems


    Mr Benn described UKIP as a party of protest. "And I don't think it is a party of government, because Nigel Farage has got one policy in relation to Europe but his economic policy, as we know, simply doesn't add up. This is a time for serious politics. But look, sure we've got to listen to what the voters are saying, that's really important."


    With Labour retaining South Shields in a by-election, the shadow secretary for communities and local government, Hilary Benn, said Labour had made progress. He acknowledged that UKIP had done well but did not consider them a serious a contender in the next general election.


    In one Lincolnshire area, it was a family affair as a mother and her two daughters all won seats. Sue Ransome, 61, and her daughters Felicity and Elizabeth Ransome, 27 and 26, gained seats in Boston, although her husband and another daughter came second in other seats.


    UKIP leader Nigel Farage is upbeat, declaring: "Numerically we're the third party because the Lib Dems are trailing behind." He tells the Daily Telegraph: "This wave of protests certainly isn't short term. It's lasting."


    BBC political editor Nick Robinson has offered his views on the results so far: "It is the day UKIP emerged as a real political force in the land," although he adds that "UKIP are putting down political roots. They are not about to challenge for power." Read more from Nick here.


    BBC polling expert John Curtice says: "The results so far represent the most serious challenge to the three main Westminster parties in any set of English local elections and confirm the impression that UKIP threaten to pose the most serious independent minority party incursion in post-war English politics. They have inflicted some obvious damage on the Conservatives, but in truth have really eaten into the support of all three Westminster parties."

    Votes are counted in Cinderford, Gloucestershire

    Votes were counted at Cinderford, Gloucestershire, where the Conservatives lost overall control of Gloucestershire County Council.


    Deputy Lib Dem leader Simon Hughes plays down the impact of UKIP's successes on the future prospects of his own party. He says the Lib Dems have done well "in our territory". UKIP, on the other hand, is becoming the "protest party" in many Tory-held seats where Mr Hughes and his colleagues are "not within challenging distance".


    Some good news for Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg. His party has held on to a council seat in the deputy prime minister's Sheffield Hallam constituency. It retained the Fulwood ward of Sheffield City Council in a by-election prompted by the death of the sitting Lib Dem councillor.


    There was another result overnight. Labour held on to South Shields, the seat recently vacated by former foreign secretary David Miliband, with a reduced majority. UKIP came second, the Conservatives third and the Lib Dems seventh. The Lib Dems lost their deposit.


    A UKIP spokesman is buoyant, saying: "I can now predict with confidence that we will take more than one million votes - more than we took at the entire general election in 2010. It's likely that we might even reach 1.5 million."


    Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps acknowledges that his party has been hit by the rise of UKIP. "We have lost a lot of good councillors in the counts overnight," he told ITV's Daybreak. "People have sent a message. We get it." He added: "UKIP have done well. I don't make any secret about that at all. We need to make sure that we are addressing the concerns of the public."


    Of the seven county councils to declare so far, the Tories retained control of Essex, Dorset, Hampshire, Hertfordshire and Somerset. But they lost their majorities in Gloucestershire and Lincolnshire, which moved to no overall control, as both Labour and UKIP made gains.


    Contests took place in 27 English county councils and seven unitary authorities, as well as Anglesey, Wales. About 2,300 council seats were up for grabs in England, in what is being seen as a major mid-term test for the coalition government.


    Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the results from local elections in England and Anglesey. It looks to have been a good night for the UK Independence Party, with a substantially improved share of the vote. The Conservatives have lost control of two councils so far and Labour has made modest gains.


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