The Conservatives won the Newark by-election with a much reduced majority and the Tories are shouting about it being a great defeat of UKIP.
Now I don't believe anyone except the most incorrigible optimist expected UKIP to win a seat where the Tories had a 16,00o majority at the last election. But for the upstarts at UKIP to cut that majority by more than half to 7000 is, however you look at it, a great achievement. The Conservatives threw everything they had at the seat, nearly all their ministers visited Newark, all prospective Tory candidates visited Newark under pain of de-selection, and all local Tory Councillors were told to get canvassing.
It was said that this Newark was the 44th safest seat for the Tories and in that they have 305 MPs, this would suggest that there are 261 seats which are less safe. I wonder how the MPs in some of those seats are feeling about this great Tory victory!
UKIP are here to stay, they are steadily getting more organised, weeding out the more extreme fruitcakes, and getting their candidates and spokespersons "on message". To some extent, their future is determined by what happens within the EU; Will the EU select arch-federalist such as Jean-Claude Juncker as their President?; Will the EU courts continue to interfere with UK justice? Time will tell!
Meanwhile, as far as I am concerned the best news was that LibDems were beaten by both the Greens and an Independent Candidate and they lost their deposit.
All things considered, not a bad result!
Richard Ottoway Resigns from European Movement
12 minutes ago