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The UK Independence Party (UKIP ) is a
Eurosceptic Euroscepticism, also known as EU-scepticism, means criticism of the European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of Member state of the European Union, member states that are located primarily in Europe. I ...
,
right-wing populist Right-wing populism, also called national populism and right-wing nationalism, is a political ideology An ideology () is a set of belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the case, or that some proposition abo ...
political party in the United Kingdom The Electoral Commission (United Kingdom), Electoral Commission's Register of Political Parties lists the details of Political party, political parties registered to fight elections in the United Kingdom, including their registered name. Unde ...
. The party reached its greatest level of success in the mid-2010s, when it gained two
members of Parliament A member of parliament (MP) is the representative of the people who live in their constituency An electoral district, also known as an election district, legislative district, voting district, constituency, riding, ward, division, (election) ...
and was the largest party representing the UK in the
European Parliament The European Parliament (EP) is one of three Legislature, legislative branches of the European Union and one of its seven Institutions of the European Union, institutions. Together with the Council of the European Union, it adopts European legi ...

European Parliament
. The party is currently led by Neil Hamilton. UKIP originated as the
Anti-Federalist League The Anti-Federalist League was a small cross-party organisation in the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph ...
, a
single-issue Single-issue politics involves political campaign A political campaign is an organized effort which seeks to influence the decision making progress within a specific group. In democracies, political campaigns often refer to electoral campaig ...
Eurosceptic party established in London by
Alan Sked Alan Sked (born 22 August 1947) is a Scottish eurosceptic Euroscepticism, also known as EU-scepticism, means criticism of the European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of Member state of the Europea ...
in 1991. It was renamed UKIP in 1993, but its growth remained slow. It was largely eclipsed by the Eurosceptic
Referendum Party The Referendum Party was a Eurosceptic Euroscepticism, also known as EU-scepticism, means criticism of the European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of Member state of the European Union, member st ...
until the latter's 1997 dissolution. In 1997, Sked was ousted by a faction led by
Nigel Farage Nigel Paul Farage (; born 3 April 1964) is a British broadcaster and former politician who was Leader of the UK Independence Party The UK Independence Party (UKIP ) is a Eurosceptic, right-wing populist political party in the United Ki ...

Nigel Farage
, who became the party's preeminent figure. In 2006, Farage officially became leader and, under his direction, the party adopted a wider policy platform and capitalised on concerns about rising immigration, in particular among the
White British White British is an Classification of ethnicity in the United Kingdom, ethnicity classification used for indigenous white British (English people, English, Scottish people, Scottish and Welsh people, Welsh), Irish people, Irish/People of North ...
working class. This resulted in significant breakthroughs at the 2013 local elections, 2014 European Parliamentary elections, and
2015 general election This national electoral calendar for 2015 lists the national/Federation, federal direct elections that were held in 2015 in all List of sovereign states, sovereign states and their Dependent territory, dependent territories. By-elections are e ...
. Farage then stepped down as UKIP leader, later joining the
Brexit Party Reform UK is a Right-wing populism, right-wing populist political party in the United Kingdom. It was founded as the Brexit Party in November 2018, and was renamed on 6 January 2021 after the completion of the UK’s withdrawal from the Europea ...

Brexit Party
. UKIP subsequently saw its vote share and membership heavily decline, losing almost all of its elected representatives amid much internal instability and a drift toward a
far-right Far-right politics, also referred to as the extreme right or right-wing extremism, are politics further on the right of the left–right political spectrum The left–right political spectrum is a system of classifying political positions c ...
, anti-Islam message. Ideologically positioned on the
right wing Right-wing politics is generally defined by support of the view that certain social order The term social order can be used in two senses: In the first sense, it refers to a particular system of social structures and institution Institu ...
of British politics, UKIP is characterised by
political scientists This is a list of notable political scientists. See the list of political theorists for those who study political theory. See also political science Political science is the scientific study of politics. It is a social science dealing with s ...
as a right-wing populist party. UKIP's primary emphasis has been on Euroscepticism, calling for the United Kingdom's exit from the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of member states that are located primarily in Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the wester ...

European Union
(EU). It promotes a British unionist and British nationalist agenda, encouraging a unitary British identity in opposition to growing
Welsh Welsh may refer to: Related to Wales * Welsh, referring or related to Wales * Welsh language, a Brittonic Celtic language of the Indo-European language family, indigenous to the British Isles, spoken in Wales ** Patagonian Welsh, a dialect of Wels ...
and
Scottish nationalism Scottish nationalism promotes the idea that the Scottish people form a cohesive nation and Scottish national identity, national identity. Scottish nationalism began to shape from the 1920s to the 1970s and achieved present ideological maturity i ...
s. Political scientists have argued that in doing so, it conflates
Britishness Britishness is the state or quality of being British, or of embodying British characteristics. It comprises the claimed qualities that bind and distinguish the British people The British people, or Britons, are the citizens of the Uni ...
with
Englishness A national identity National identity is a person's identity or sense of belonging to one state or to one nation A nation is a community of people formed on the basis of a common language, history, ethnicity, or a common culture, and, in many c ...
and appeals to
English nationalist English nationalism is the nationalism Nationalism is an idea and movement that promotes the interests of a particular nation A nation is a community of people formed on the basis of a common language, history, ethnicity, or a common ...
sentiment. UKIP has also placed emphasis on lowering immigration, rejecting
multiculturalism The term multiculturalism has a range of meanings within the contexts of sociology Sociology is a social science Social science is the branch The branches and leaves of a tree. A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes r ...

multiculturalism
, and opposing what it calls the "
Islamification Islamization (also spelled Islamisation, see spelling differences; ar, أسلمة, ), Islamicization or Islamification, is the process of a society's shift towards the religion of Islam Islam (;There are ten pronunciations of ''Islam'' in ...
" of Britain. Influenced by
Thatcherism Thatcherism is a form of British conservative ideology named after Conservative Party Conservative Party may refer to: Europe Current *Croatian Conservative Party, *Conservative Party (Czech Republic) *Conservative People's Party (Denmark) ...
and
classical liberalism Classical liberalism is a political ideology and a History of liberalism, branch of liberalism that advocates free market, civil liberties under the rule of law with an emphasis on limited government, economic freedom, and political freedom. I ...
, it describes itself as economically libertarian and promotes liberal economic policies. On social issues such as
LGBT rights Rights affecting lesbian A lesbian is a Homosexuality, homosexual woman.Zimmerman, p. 453. The word ''lesbian'' is also used for women in relation to their sexual identity or sexual behavior, regardless of sexual orientation, or a ...
, education policy, and criminal justice it is
traditionalist Traditionalism is the adherence to traditional beliefs or practices. It may also refer to: Religion and spirituality * Traditionalist conservatism, a school concerned about traditional values, practical knowledge and spontaneous natural order * ...
. Having an ideological heritage stemming from the right-wing of the
Conservative Party Conservative Party may refer to: Europe Current *Croatian Conservative Party, *Conservative Party (Czech Republic) *Conservative People's Party (Denmark) *Conservative Party of Georgia *Conservative Party (Norway) *Conservative Party (UK) Histor ...

Conservative Party
, it distinguishes itself from the mainstream political establishment through heavy use of
populist Populism refers to a range of political stances that emphasise the idea of "the people" and often juxtapose this group against "the elite". The term developed in the 19th century and has been applied to various politicians, parties, and moveme ...
rhetoric, for instance through Farage's description of its supporters as the "People's Army". Governed by its leader and National Executive Committee, UKIP is divided into twelve regional groups. A founding member of the
Alliance for Direct Democracy in Europe The Alliance for Direct Democracy in Europe, abbreviated to ADDE, was a European political party A European political party, known formally as a political party at European level and informally as a Europarty, is a type of political party orga ...
European political party A European political party, known formally as a political party at European level and informally as a Europarty, is a type of political party organisation operating transnationally in Europe and within the institutions of the European Union. They ...
, most of UKIP's MEPs sat with the
Europe of Nations and Freedom Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF; french: link=no, Europe des nations et des libertés, ENL) was a political group in the European Parliament The European Parliament (EP) is one of three Legislature, legislative branches of the European Un ...
group in the European Parliament. While gaining electoral support from various sectors of British society,
psephologists Psephology (; from Greek el, ψῆφος, psephos, pebble, label=none) is a branch of political science, the "quantitative analysis of elections and balloting". As such, psephology attempts to scientifically explicate elections. Psephology is rel ...
established that at its height, UKIP's primary voting base consisted of older, working-class white men living in England. UKIP has faced a critical reception from mainstream political parties, much of the media, and
anti-fascist Anti-fascism is a political movement in opposition to fascist Fascism () is a form of far-right, authoritarian ultranationalism characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition and strong regimentation of socie ...
groups. Its discourse on immigration and cultural identity generated accusations of
racism Racism is the belief that groups of humans possess different behavioral traits corresponding to inherited attributes and can be divided based on the superiority Superior may refer to: *Superior (hierarchy), something which is higher in a hie ...

racism
and
xenophobia Xenophobia () is the fear or hatred of that which is perceived to be foreign or strange. It is an expression of perceived conflict between an ingroup In sociology and social psychology, an in-group is a social group to which a person self-cate ...
, both of which it denies.


History


Foundation and early years: 1991–2004

UKIP began as the
Anti-Federalist League The Anti-Federalist League was a small cross-party organisation in the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph ...
, a Eurosceptic political party established in 1991 by the historian
Alan Sked Alan Sked (born 22 August 1947) is a Scottish eurosceptic Euroscepticism, also known as EU-scepticism, means criticism of the European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of Member state of the Europea ...
. The League opposed the recently signed
Maastricht Treaty The Treaty on European Union, commonly known as the Maastricht Treaty, is the foundation treaty of the European Union (EU). Concluded in 1992 between the then-twelve Member state of the European Union, member states of the European Communities, ...
and sought to sway the governing
Conservative Party Conservative Party may refer to: Europe Current *Croatian Conservative Party, *Conservative Party (Czech Republic) *Conservative People's Party (Denmark) *Conservative Party of Georgia *Conservative Party (Norway) *Conservative Party (UK) Histor ...

Conservative Party
towards
removing the United Kingdom
removing the United Kingdom
from the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of member states that are located primarily in Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the wester ...

European Union
(EU). A former
Liberal Party The Liberal Party is any of many political parties A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a particular country's elections. It is common for the members of a party to hold similar ideas about politics, ...
candidate, member of the Bruges Group, and professor at the
London School of Economics , mottoeng = To understand the causes of things , established = 1895 , type = Public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization ...
(LSE), Sked had converted to Euroscepticism while teaching the LSE's European Studies programme. Under the Anti-Federalist League's banner, Sked was a candidate for Member of Parliament (MP) for
Bath Bath may refer to: * Bathing, immersion in a fluid ** Bathtub, a large open container for water, in which a person may wash their body ** Public bathing, a public place where people bathe * Thermae, ancient Roman public bathing facilities Plac ...
at the 1992 general election, gaining 0.2% of the vote. At a League meeting held in the LSE on 3 September 1993, the group was renamed the UK Independence Party, deliberately avoiding the term "British" so as to avoid confusion with the far-right
British National Party The British National Party (BNP) is a Far-right politics, far-right, Fascism, fascist list of political parties in the United Kingdom, political party in the United Kingdom. It is headquartered in Wigton, Cumbria, and its current leader is Ada ...
(BNP). UKIP contested the 1994 European Parliament election with little financing and much infighting, securing itself as the fifth largest party in that election with 1% of the vote. During this period, UKIP was viewed as a typical
single-issue party Single-issue politics involves political campaign A political campaign is an organized effort which seeks to influence the decision making progress within a specific group. In democracies, political campaigns often refer to electoral campa ...
by commentators, some of whom drew comparisons with the French Poujadist movement. Following the election, UKIP lost much support to the
Referendum Party The Referendum Party was a Eurosceptic Euroscepticism, also known as EU-scepticism, means criticism of the European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of Member state of the European Union, member st ...
; founded by the multi-millionaire
James Goldsmith Sir James Michael Goldsmith (26 February 1933 – 18 July 1997) was a French-British financier, tycoon''Billionaire: The Life and Times of Sir James Goldsmith'' by Ivan Fallon and politician A politician is a person active in party politics ...
in 1994, it shared UKIP's Eurosceptic approach but was far better funded. In the
1997 general election1997 general election may refer to: * 1997 Canadian federal election * 1997 Irish general election * 1997 Singaporean general election * 1997 United Kingdom general election {{Disambiguation ...
, UKIP fielded 194 candidates and secured 0.3% of the national vote; only one of its candidates,
Nigel Farage Nigel Paul Farage (; born 3 April 1964) is a British broadcaster and former politician who was Leader of the UK Independence Party The UK Independence Party (UKIP ) is a Eurosceptic, right-wing populist political party in the United Ki ...

Nigel Farage
in
Salisbury Salisbury ( ) is a cathedral city City status in the United Kingdom is granted by the monarch of the United Kingdom The monarchy of the United Kingdom, commonly referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional monarchy of t ...
, secured over 5% of the vote and had his deposit returned. UKIP was beaten by the Referendum Party in 163 of the 165 seats in which they stood against each other. The Referendum Party disbanded following Goldsmith's death later that year and many of its candidates joined UKIP. After the election, Sked was pressured into resigning by a party faction led by Farage, David Lott and Michael Holmes, who deemed him too intellectual and dictatorial. Sked left the party, alleging that it had been infiltrated by
racist Racism is the belief that groups of humans possess different behavioral traits corresponding to inherited attributes and can be divided based on the superiority Superior may refer to: *Superior (hierarchy), something which is higher in a hi ...

racist
and far-right elements, including BNP spies. This connection was emphasised in the press, particularly when Farage was photographed meeting with BNP activists. Holmes took over as party leader, and in the 1999 European Parliament elections—the first British election for the European Parliament to use
proportional representation#REDIRECT Proportional representation Proportional representation (PR) characterizes electoral systems in which divisions in an electorate are reflected proportionately in the elected body. The concept applies mainly to geographical, and to ideolog ...

proportional representation
—UKIP received 6.5% of the vote and three seats, in
South East England South East England is one of the nine official regions of England at the ITL 1 statistical regions of England, first level of International Territorial Level, ITL for Statistics, statistical purposes. It consists of the counties of england, ...
(Farage),
South West England South West England is one of nine official regions of England The regions, formerly known as the government office regions, are the highest tier of sub-national division in England, established in 1994. Between 1994 and 2011, nine region ...
(Holmes), and the
East of England The East of England is one of the nine official regions of England The regions, formerly known as the government office regions, are the highest tier of sub-national division in England, established in 1994. Between 1994 and 2011, nine ...
(
Jeffrey Titford Jeffrey William Titford (born 24 October 1933, West Mersea, Essex Essex () is a Ceremonial counties of England, county in the south-east of England, north-east of London. One of the home counties, it borders Suffolk and Cambridgeshire to th ...

Jeffrey Titford
). An internal power struggle ensued between Holmes and the party's National Executive Committee (NEC), which was critical of Holmes after he called for the
European Parliament The European Parliament (EP) is one of three Legislature, legislative branches of the European Union and one of its seven Institutions of the European Union, institutions. Together with the Council of the European Union, it adopts European legi ...

European Parliament
to have greater powers over the
European Commission The European Commission (EC) is the executive branch The executive is the branch of government exercising authority in and holding Moral responsibility, responsibility for the governance of a State (polity), state. The executive executes a ...

European Commission
. Led by Farage, the NEC removed Holmes from power, and Titford was elected leader. In the 2001 general election, UKIP secured 1.5% of the vote, and six of its 428 candidates retained their deposits. It had lost much of its support to the Conservatives, whose leader
William Hague William Jefferson Hague, Baron Hague of Richmond, (born 26 March 1961) is a British Conservative Party (UK), Conservative politician and life peer who served as Leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Leader of the Conservative Party and Leader ...

William Hague
had adopted increasingly Eurosceptic rhetoric during his campaign. In 2002, the former Conservative MP
Roger Knapman Roger Maurice Knapman (born 20 February 1944 in Crediton Crediton is a town and civil parishes in England, civil parish in the Mid Devon district of Devon in England. It stands on the A377 road, A377 Exeter to Barnstaple road at the junction ...

Roger Knapman
was elected UKIP leader, bringing with him the experience of mainstream politics that the party had lacked. Knapman hired the political campaign consultant
Dick Morris Richard Samuel Morris (born November 28, 1946) is an American political author and commentator who previously worked as a pollster, political campaign consultant, and general political consultant Political consulting is a form of consulting t ...

Dick Morris
to advise UKIP. The party adopted the slogan "say no" and launched a national billboard campaign. In 2004, UKIP reorganised itself nationally as a
private company limited by guarantee In British, Irish and Australian company law Corporate law (also known as business law or enterprise law or sometimes company law) is the body of law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated ...
.


Growing visibility: 2004–2014

UKIP's support increased during the 2004 European Parliament elections, when it placed third, securing 2.6 million votes (16.1%) and winning twelve seats. This had been made possible through increased funding from major donors and the celebrity endorsement of chat show host
Robert Kilroy-Silk Robert Michael Kilroy-Silk (born Robert Michael Silk; 19 May 1942) is an English former politician and broadcaster. After a decade as a university lecturer, he served as a Labour Party Member of Parliament A member of parliament (MP) is the ...
, who stood as a candidate in the
East Midlands The East Midlands is one of nine official regions of England The regions, formerly known as the government office regions, are the highest tier of sub-national division in England England is a that is part of the . It shares lan ...
. Kilroy-Silk then criticised Knapman's leadership, arguing that UKIP should stand against Conservative candidates, regardless of whether they were Eurosceptic or not. This position was rejected by many party members, who were uneasy regarding Kilroy-Silk. After Farage and Lott backed Knapman, Kilroy-Silk left the party in January 2005. Two weeks later, he founded his own rival,
Veritas In Roman mythology Roman mythology is the body of myths of ancient Rome as represented in the Latin literature, literature and Roman art, visual arts of the Romans. One of a wide variety of genres of Roman folklore, ''Roman mythology'' may ...
, taking a number of UKIP members—including both of its
London Assembly The London Assembly is a 25-member elected body, part of the Greater London Authority The Greater London Authority (GLA), colloquially known by the metonym "City Hall", is the Devolution in the United Kingdom, devolved Regions of England, r ...
members—with him. After Kilroy-Silk's defection, UKIP's membership declined by a third and donations dropped by over a half. UKIP continued to be widely seen as a single-issue party and in the 2005 general election—when it fielded 496 candidates—it secured only 2.2% of the vote, and 40 candidates had their deposits returned. Electoral support for the BNP grew during this period, with academics and political commentators suggesting that the parties were largely competing for the same voter base, a section of about 20% of the UK population. Given that the BNP had outperformed UKIP in most of the seats that they both contested, many UKIP members, including several figures on the NEC, favoured an electoral pact with them, a proposal that Farage strongly condemned. In 2006, Farage was elected leader. To attract support, he cultivated an image of himself as a "man of the people", openly smoking and drinking, showing disdain for the established parties, and speaking in an open manner that appeared unscripted. He sought to broaden UKIP's image from that of a single-issue party by introducing an array of socially conservative policies, including reducing immigration, tax cuts, restoring
grammar schools A grammar school is one of several different types of school A school is an educational institution An educational institution is a place where people of different ages gain an education, including preschools, childcare, primary-ele ...
, and
climate change denial Climate change denial, or global warming denial, is Denialism, denial, dismissal, or unwarranted doubt that contradicts the scientific consensus on climate change, including the extent to which it is Attribution of recent climate change, caused ...
. In doing so he was attempting to attract disenfranchised former Conservatives who had left the party after its leader,
David Cameron David William Donald Cameron (born 9 October 1966) is a British politician, businessman, Lobbying, lobbyist, and author who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2010 to 2016. He was Member of Parliament (United Kingdom), Memb ...
, had moved in a socially liberal direction. According to Farage, Cameron was "a
socialist Socialism is a political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions In psychology, decision-making (also spelled decision making and decisionmaking) is regarded as the Cognition, cognitive pr ...

socialist
" whose priorities were "gay marriage, foreign aid, and wind farms". Cameron was highly critical of UKIP, referring to them as "fruitcakes, loonies, and closet racists". The Conservatives' largest donor,
Stuart Wheeler John Stuart Wheeler (30 January 193523 July 2020) was a British financier An investor is a person that allocates capital with the expectation of a future financial return (profit) or to gain an advantage (interest). Through this allocated c ...

Stuart Wheeler
, donated £100,000 to UKIP after criticising Cameron's stance towards the
Treaty of Lisbon The Treaty of Lisbon (initially known as the Reform Treaty) is an international agreement that amends the two treaties A treaty is a formal, legally binding written agreement between actors in international law International law, als ...
and the EU. After trust in the mainstream parties was damaged by the parliamentary expenses scandal, UKIP received an immediate surge in support. This helped it in the
2009 European Parliament election Elections in the European Union, Elections to the European Parliament were held in the 27 member states of the European Union (EU) between 4 and 7 June 2009. A total of 736 Member of the European Parliament, Members of the European Parliament (ME ...
, in which it secured 2.5 million votes (16.5%), resulting in 13 MEPs, becoming the second largest party in the European Parliament after the Conservatives. During the election, UKIP outperformed the BNP, whose electoral support base collapsed shortly after. In September 2009, Farage resigned as leader. The subsequent
leadership electionA leadership election is a political contest held in various countries by which the members of a political party A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a country's elections. It is common for the members ...
was won by Lord Malcolm Pearson, who emphasised UKIP's opposition to high immigration rates and Islamism in Britain, calling for a ban on the
burqa A burqa or burka ( ar, برقع ), also known as a chadaree ( ps, چادري) in Afghanistan or a paranja Paranja or paranji (from فرنجية паранджа) is a traditional Central Asian Central Asia is a region in Asia A ...

burqa
being worn in public. Pearson was unpopular with the UKIP grassroots, who viewed him as an establishment figure too favourable to the Conservatives. In the
2010 general election2010 general election may refer to: * 2010 Anguillan general election * 2010 Australian federal election * 2010 Bougainvillean general election * 2010 Brazilian general election * 2010 Burmese general election * 2010 Cook Islands general election * ...
, UKIP fielded 558 candidates and secured 3.1% of the vote (919,471 votes), but won no seats. Pearson stood down as leader in August, and Farage was re-elected in the
leadership electionA leadership election is a political contest held in various countries by which the members of a political party A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a country's elections. It is common for the members ...
with more than 60% of the vote. Farage placed new emphasis on developing areas of local support through growth in local councils. Observing that the party had done well in areas dominated by
white White is the lightest color Color (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the Unite ...
blue-collar worker A blue-collar worker is a working class The working class (or labouring class) comprises those engaged in manual-labour occupations or industrial work, who are remunerated via waged or salaried contracts. Working-class occupations (see a ...
s with no educational attainment, and that conversely it had done poorly in areas with high numbers of graduates and ethnic minorities, UKIP's campaign refocused directly at the former target vote. UKIP support would be bolstered by dissatisfaction with the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government and the perception that its
austerity Austerity is a set of political-economic policies that aim to reduce government budget deficits through spending cuts, tax increases, or a combination of both. There are three primary types of austerity measures: higher taxes to fund spending, ...

austerity
policies benefited the socio-economic elite while imposing hardship on most Britons. During this year, UKIP had witnessed far greater press coverage and growing support, with opinion polls placing it at around 10% support in late 2012. UKIP put up a record number of candidates for the 2013 local elections, achieving its strongest local government result, polling an average of 23% in the wards where it stood, and increasing its number of elected councillors from 4 to 147. This was the best result for a party outside the big three in British politics since the
Second World War World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
, with UKIP being described as "the most popular political insurgency" in Britain since the
Social Democratic Party The name Social Democratic Party or Social Democrats has been used by many Political party, political parties in various countries around the world. Such parties are most commonly aligned to social democracy as their Ideologies of parties, pol ...
during the 1980s.


Entering mainstream politics: 2014–2016

In March 2014,
Ofcom The Office of Communications ( cy, Y Swyddfa Gyfathrebiadau), commonly known as Ofcom, is the government-approved regulatory and competition authority for the broadcasting, telecommunication Telecommunication is the transmission of info ...
awarded UKIP "major party status". In the 2014 local elections, UKIP won 163 seats, an increase of 128, but did not take control of any council. In the 2014 European Parliament elections, UKIP received the greatest number of votes (27.5%) of any British party, producing 24 MEPs. The party won seats in every region of Britain, including its first in Scotland. It made strong gains in traditionally
Labour Labour or labor may refer to: * Childbirth Childbirth, also known as labour or delivery, is the ending of pregnancy where one or more babies leaves the uterus by passing through the vagina or by Caesarean section. In 2015, there were about 13 ...
voting areas within Wales and the North of England; it for instance came either first or second in all 72 council areas of the latter. The victory established Farage and UKIP as "truly household names". It was the first time since 1906 that a party other than Labour or the Conservatives had won the most votes in a UK-wide election. UKIP gained its first MP when Conservative defector
Douglas Carswell John Douglas Wilson Carswell (born 3 May 1971) is a British former politician who served as Member of Parliament A member of parliament (MP) is the representative of the people who live in their constituency. In many countries with Bicameral ...

Douglas Carswell
won the seat of
Clacton Clacton-on-Sea is the largest town in the Tendring Tendring is a village and civil parish in Essex. It gives its name to the Tendring District and before that the Tendring (hundred), Tendring Hundred. Its name was given to the larger groupin ...
during an October 2014 by-election."UKIP gains first elected MP with Clacton win"
, BBC News. Retrieved 10 October 2014.
In November fellow Conservative defector Mark Reckless became UKIP's second MP in a 2014 Rochester and Strood by-election, Rochester and Strood by-election."Rochester: Farage looks to more UKIP gains after success"
, BBC News. Retrieved 22 November 2014.
In the
2015 general election This national electoral calendar for 2015 lists the national/Federation, federal direct elections that were held in 2015 in all List of sovereign states, sovereign states and their Dependent territory, dependent territories. By-elections are e ...
, UKIP secured over 3.8 million votes (12.6% of the total), replacing the Liberal Democrats (UK), Liberal Democrats as the third most popular party, but only secured one seat, with Carswell retaining his seat and Reckless losing his. In the run-up to the election, Farage stated that he would resign as party leader if he did not win South Thanet (UK Parliament constituency), South Thanet. On failing to do so, he resigned, although was reinstated three days later when the NEC rejected his resignation. A period of 'civil war' broke out among senior membership between those who favoured Farage's leadership and those seeking a change. In the 2015 Oldham West and Royton by-election the party attacked Jeremy Corbyn as a security risk, but only gained a small increase in support at the expense of the Conservative Party. In the 2016 National Assembly for Wales election, UKIP nearly tripled their share of votes (from 4.7 per cent to 12.5 per cent) and won seven seats. To counter the loss of further votes to UKIP, the governing Conservatives promised a 2016 United Kingdom European Union membership referendum, referendum on the UK's continued membership of the EU. Rather than taking part in the official Vote Leave campaign, to which various Eurosceptic Conservative and Labour politicians were linked, UKIP affiliated itself with the Leave.EU campaign group. Farage gained regular press coverage during the campaign, in which Leave.EU emphasised what it characterised as the negative impact of immigration on local communities and public services. The June 2016 referendum produced a 51.89% majority in favour of leaving the EU: the accomplishment of UKIP's ''raison d'être'' raised questions about the party's future. The loss of its MEPs would result in the loss of its primary institutional representation and a key source of its funding.


Decline: 2016–present


Downward turn (2016–2018)

After the referendum, Farage resigned as UKIP leader. Diane James was elected as his successor, but resigned after 18 days. Farage's former deputy, Paul Nuttall, was elected leader that month. In March 2017, the party's only MP, Carswell, left the party to sit as an independent. The next month, Reckless also left UKIP. In the 2017 United Kingdom local elections, 2017 local elections, UKIP lost all 145 seats it was defending, but gained one on Lancashire County Council. These results led several prominent former UKIP members to call for the party to be disbanded. In the following 2017 United Kingdom general election, 2017 general election, UKIP received fewer than 600,000 votes and won no seats. The following day, Nuttall resigned and Steve Crowther took over as interim party leader. In July 2017, it lost its majority on Thanet District Council, Thanet council when Councillor Beverly Martin defected to the Conservatives; in September all three UKIP councillors on Plymouth City Council, Plymouth council defected to the Conservatives, as did Alexandra Phillips (Brexit Party politician), Alexandra Phillips, who had been UKIP's Head of Media for three years. In 2017, Henry Bolton (British politician), Henry Bolton, a former soldier, was 2017 UK Independence Party leadership election, elected leader. In January 2018, UKIP MEP Jonathan Arnott resigned from the party. In December 2017, former UKIP Suffolk County Council member and parliamentary candidate from the general election in Central Suffolk and North Ipswich (UK Parliament constituency), Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, Stephen Searle murdered his wife, Murder of Anne Searle, Anne Searle at their home in Stowmarket. In January 2018, UKIP's NEC delivered a Motion of no confidence, vote of no confidence in Bolton; only Bolton voted against the motion. He nevertheless refused to resign. In protest, Margot Parker resigned as deputy leader, as did the party's spokesmen for government, education, immigration, and trade and industry. A few days later, all seventeen UKIP members of Thurrock Council left the party and formed Thurrock Independents. In February, UKIP members passed a vote of no confidence in Bolton, removing him as leader. He was replaced by Gerard Batten as interim leader until a new leadership election could be held. When the election occurred in April, Batten stood unopposed and was elected.


Association with the far right (2018–2019)

In the 2018 United Kingdom local elections, 2018 local elections, UKIP lost 124 of the 126 seats it was defending, and gained a single seat in Derby for a net loss of 123. MEP James Carver left UKIP to sit as an independent on 28 May 2018, becoming the sixth UKIP MEP to leave since 2014. Under the leadership of Henry Bolton, party membership was understood to have fallen to around 18,000 by January 2018. During Batten's interim leadership term, the party avoided insolvency after a financial appeal to members. As the new permanent leader, Batten focused the party more on opposing Islam, which he described as a "death cult", was criticised as an "explicitly far-right party" after they invited Paul Joseph Watson as a spokesman, sought closer relations with the far-right activist Tommy Robinson (activist), Tommy Robinson and his followers., and made Muslim-only prisons party policy (which was criticised as "the first step to Muslim concentration camps"). The party saw its membership rise by 15% in July 2018, following the publication of the Chequers Agreement and allowing three prominent far-right activists to join the party. Previous leader
Nigel Farage Nigel Paul Farage (; born 3 April 1964) is a British broadcaster and former politician who was Leader of the UK Independence Party The UK Independence Party (UKIP ) is a Eurosceptic, right-wing populist political party in the United Ki ...

Nigel Farage
stated he was "really upset" that Robinson could be allowed into the party and that he believed Gerard Batten was marginalising the party. Batten's appointment of Robinson as an advisor was followed by a wave of high-profile resignations from the party. Farage announced his decision to resign in December 2018, calling Batten "obsessed" with Islam and saying that "UKIP wasn't founded to be a party based on fighting a religious crusade". Former Deputy Chair Suzanne Evans had left earlier that week after Batten survived a vote of confidence from the party NEC. The former leader of the party in the Welsh Assembly, Caroline Jones (politician), Caroline Jones, and the MEP William Legge, 10th Earl of Dartmouth, William Dartmouth had also cited the party's trajectory to the right as reasons for leaving the party. Another former leader, Paul Nuttall, also left for the same reason. By December 2018, a majority of the party's MEPs had left. Others leaving included Peter Whittle (politician), Peter Whittle, the party's top vote-winner on the London Assembly. On 9 December 2018, before an important vote on Brexit legislation, UKIP led a "Brexit Betrayal" rally in central London fronted by Robinson, alongside prominent far-right groups. By April 2019, of 24 UKIP MEPs elected in the 2014 European Election, only 4 remained members of UKIP. Ten of these MEPs would later move to Nigel's Farage's new party, Brexit Party, The Brexit Party, whilst O'Flynn defected to the Social Democratic Party (UK, 1990-present), SDP. Most others continued to sit as Independent politician, Independent MEPs. By April 2019, the British government had agreed an extension to Brexit with the EU until 31 October 2019, which would mean the UK would take part in the 2019 European Parliament election in the United Kingdom, 2019 European Parliament elections. Candidates selected by UKIP to run in the election included right-wing YouTube personalities, Carl Benjamin and Mark Meechan. Benjamin had caused controversy by making "inappropriate" comments in 2016 about the rape threats to a female Labour MP Jess Phillips, with the UKIP Swindon Branch chair calling for him to be deselected. Videos made by Benjamin in which he used racist terms also caused controversy. In May, the 2019 United Kingdom local elections saw UKIP lose around 80% of the seats it was defending. The party was criticised for failing "to capitalise on the collapse of the Conservatives" by commentators. In the European elections later that month, UKIP received 3.3% of the vote and lost all its remaining seats. On 2 June 2019, Batten resigned his post as party leader as he had promised if he lost his MEP position. In the 2019 UK Independence Party leadership election, 2019 UKIP leadership election, Richard Braine (politician), Richard Braine was elected UKIP leader and attempted to appoint Batten as deputy leader. Braine's attempt to appoint Batten as the party's deputy leader was blocked by its National Executive Committee (NEC). Braine was criticised in the press for comments he has made which were considered racist and offensive, including one incident in which he claimed he "often confused" London mayor Sadiq Khan with Mohammad Sidique Khan, one of the 7 July 2005 London bombings, 7/7 terror attackers. Braine later further came underfire when he announced he planned to boycott the September 2019 UKIP Party conference in Newport, Wales, Newport, after less than 450 tickets were sold for the conference. The Chairman of UKIP, Kirstan Herriot, stated to members that Braine had attempted to cancel the conference due to the low turnout and was highly critical of this attempted action.


Internal instability (2019–present)

In October 2019, UKIP underwent a leadership crisis in the run-up to its NEC elections after it suspended Braine's membership, and by extension, his eligibility to be party leader, over allegations of data theft from party databases. Three other members associated with Braine, Jeff Armstrong – the party's general secretary appointed by Braine; NEC candidate Mark Dent; and Tony Sharp, were also suspended. In response, Braine accused the NEC of carrying out a purge of members. All four members were reported to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau. On 30 October 2019, Braine resigned as leader of the party. He cited "internal conflict" and an inability to "prevent a purge of good members from the party", referring to the NEC's decision to add "Integrity", an anti-Islam faction within UKIP supporting Tommy Robinson, Batten and Braine, to the party's proscribed list of organisations. On 7 November 2019, The Welsh Assembly Member and former UKIP group leader, Gareth Bennett (politician), Gareth Bennett, resigned from UKIP and chose to sit as an independent on the Welsh Assembly. He stated that he wanted to support Boris Johnson's Brexit deal. As a result, the sole remaining member of the Welsh Assembly was Neil Hamilton. On 16 November 2019, National Executive Committee member Patricia Mountain was appointed interim leader in preparation for the December general election and the upcoming UKIP leadership election.UKIP announces new interim leader
Retrieved 20 November 2019.
Only 44 UKIP candidates stood in the 2019 United Kingdom general election, December 2019 general election, targeting constituencies that voted to leave the European Union in which the Brexit Party withdrew their candidates for the Conservatives or where the Conservative candidate was in favour of remaining in the EU. On 2 December 2019, Mountain appeared on Sky News for an interview with journalist Adam Boulton as a part of the launch of the election manifesto for UKIP; it lasted for eight minutes and the interview was described by the ''Evening Standard'' as a "car crash", and there were reports that she was mistaken for the titular character of ''Catherine Tate's Nan''. Mountain was unable to name a single seat her party was contending and "accidentally called her party racist". UKIP failed to win any seats it contested in the election and nationwide the party received only 22,817 votes (0.1% of the vote share). This result was the lowest the party had achieved in a general election in the party's history. The party also failed to retain any deposits, only received more than 1,000 votes in two seats, and, in another two seats, finished behind the Official Monster Raving Loony Party. In January 2020, David Kurten, UKIP's last remaining London Assembly Member, left UKIP to stand as an Independent politician, independent candidate in the 2021 London Assembly election, 2020 London Assembly election and the 2020 London mayoral election. Kurten described the politics of both UKIP and the Brexit Party as needing "rebranding" once Britain left the EU on 31 January. Kurten's departure ended UKIP's presence on the London Assembly. In March 2020, according to a tweet by the former leader, Gerard Batten, the party was reported to be "close to insolvency". On 25 June 2020, Freddy Vachha was elected unopposed as leader. He stated that the party "went astray quite a few years ago" and that under his leadership it would "return to our libertarian freedom-loving principles". On 12 September 2020, it was reported that Vachha had been suspended from the party following a formal complaint of bullying and harassment. Later that day, UKIP Wales leader Neil Hamilton was made interim Leader. Vachha argued a short time later that he was still leader, and that his suspension was unconstitutional, as he claimed to have appointed Marietta King as chairman in place of Ben Walker a few days earlier. Vachha decided to take legal action, however in December a judge refused his request to fast-track the case. Vachha then dropped his legal case and was ordered to pay the party's legal costs. In the 2021 Senedd election, UKIP performed poorly and suffered a "complete collapse" of voter support, with the Conservative Party gaining a number of voters who had in previous elections voted UKIP. The party finished seventh with 1.56% of regional list votes. Neil Hamilton, Interim UKIP leader and UKIP's sole Member of the Senedd, MS in the Senedd Cymru – Welsh Parliament, Welsh Senedd lost his seat, ending any representation UKIP had outside of local government in England. In the 2021 Scottish Parliament election, Scottish Parliament election, the party received just 3,848 (0.14%) list votes across the whole country despite standing in every region in Scotland. In the 2021 United Kingdom local elections, 2021 local elections, UKIP lost all the seats they were defending from the previous elections in those council areas. Furthermore, in the 2021 London mayoral election, London mayoral election, the UKIP candidate, Peter Gammons, achieved 0.6 of the total vote, finishing 13th. The party finished ninth in the 2021 London Assembly election, London Assembly election, down from fourth in 2016. After a period as acting leader, Hamilton was elected as leader in October 2021, receiving 498 votes of 631 cast (78.9%) against challenger John Poynton.


Ideology and policies


Right-wing populism

UKIP is situated on the right wing of the left–right political spectrum. More specifically, academic political scientists and commentators have described UKIP as a
right-wing populist Right-wing populism, also called national populism and right-wing nationalism, is a political ideology An ideology () is a set of belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the case, or that some proposition abo ...
party, and as part of Europe's wider Radical right (Europe), radical right. The term ''populism'' refers to political groups which ideologically contrast "the people" against an elite or group of "dangerous others" whom the populists claim threaten the sovereignty of "the people", and during its establishment in 1993, UKIP's founders explicitly described it as a populist party. At the time, its "ideological heritage" lay within the right-wing of the Conservative Party, and UKIP was influenced by the "Tory populism" of Conservative politicians Margaret Thatcher and Enoch Powell. The political scientists Amir Abedi and Thomas Carl Lundberg characterised UKIP as an "Anti-Political Establishment" party. The party's rhetoric presents the idea that there is a fundamental divide between the British population and the elite who govern the country. UKIP claims to stand up for ordinary people against this political elite. UKIP politician Bill Etheridge for instance claimed that his party represented "a democratic revolution... the people of Britain rising up and fighting to wrestle power from the elite". Contributing to this anti-establishment message, Farage describes the party's supporters as "the People's Army", and he regularly held photo-opportunities and journalistic interviews in a pub, thus cultivating an "erudite everyman" image that contrasted with his past as a Commodity market, commodities trader. UKIP uses recurring populist rhetoric—for instance by describing its policies as "common sense" and "straight talking"—in order to present itself as a straightforward alternative to the mainstream parties and their supposedly elusive and complex discourse. UKIP presents the UK's three primary parties—the Conservatives, Labour, and Liberal Democrats—as being essentially interchangeable, referring to them with the portmanteau of "LibLabCon". Farage accused all three parties of being social democracy, social-democratic in ideology and "virtually indistinguishable from one another on nearly all the key issues". Farage has also accused the Scottish National Party of being "the voice of anti-Englishness", suggesting that elements of the Scottish nationalism, Scottish nationalist movement are "deeply racist, with a total hatred of the English".


Nationalism and British unionism

UKIP has always had the politics of national identity at its core. The party is nationalist, and its "basic claim—that the highest priority for the British polity is to assure that it is fully governed by the national state—is a nationalist one." The party describes its position as being that of civic nationalism, and in its manifesto explicitly rejects ethnic nationalism by encouraging support from Britons of all ethnicities and religions. Rejecting claims that it is racist, both Sked and later Farage described UKIP as a "non-racist, non-sectarian party". In UKIP's literature, the party has placed an emphasis on "restoring Britishness" and counteracting what it sees as a "serious existential crisis" exhibited by the "Islamification" of Britain, the "pseudo-nationalisms" of Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, and the multicultural and Supranational union, supranational policies promoted by "the cultural left", describing its own stance as being "unashamedly unicultural". It has been suggested that this attitude compromises the party's claim that its form of British nationalism is civic and inclusive. UKIP considers itself to be a British unionist party, although its support base is centred largely in England. Farage has characterised his party's growth as "a very English rebellion", and has described UKIP as "unashamedly patriotic, proud to be who we are as a nation". The political scientist Richard Hayton argued that UKIP's British unionism reflects "Anglo-Britishness", a perspective that blurs the distinction between Britain and England. With Mycock, Hayton argued that in conflating
Englishness A national identity National identity is a person's identity or sense of belonging to one state or to one nation A nation is a community of people formed on the basis of a common language, history, ethnicity, or a common culture, and, in many c ...
with
Britishness Britishness is the state or quality of being British, or of embodying British characteristics. It comprises the claimed qualities that bind and distinguish the British people The British people, or Britons, are the citizens of the Uni ...
, UKIP exhibited an "inherent Anglocentrism" that negates the distinct culture of the Scottish people, Scottish, Welsh people, Welsh, and People of Northern Ireland, Northern Irish peoples of the United Kingdom. Hayton suggests that UKIP tap into "a vein of nostalgic cultural nationalism" within England, and it has been noted that UKIP's discourse frames the image of Englishness in a nostalgic manner, harking back to the years before the collapse of the British Empire. UKIP has emphasised the need to correct what it perceives as the United Kingdom's imbalance against England resulting from the "West Lothian question" and the Barnett formula. The party has mobilised
English nationalist English nationalism is the nationalism Nationalism is an idea and movement that promotes the interests of a particular nation A nation is a community of people formed on the basis of a common language, history, ethnicity, or a common ...
sentiment brought on by English concerns following the devolution within the UK and the rise of Welsh and Scottish nationalisms. The party initially opposed federalism in the UK, criticising the establishment of the Welsh Assembly and Scottish Parliament. However, in September 2011 Farage and the NEC announced their support for the establishment of an English Parliament to accompany the other devolved governments. In its 2015 manifesto, it promised to make St. George's Day and St. David's Day bank holidays in England and Wales, respectively. Similarly, UKIP's 2017 manifesto pledged to declare 23 June British Independence Day and observe it annually as a Public holiday, national holiday.


Euroscepticism, immigration, and foreign policy

UKIP embraces the ideology of hard Euroscepticism, also known as "Eurorejectionism". Opposition to the United Kingdom's continued membership of the European Union has been its "core issue" and is "central to the party's identity". UKIP characterises the EU as a fundamentally undemocratic institution and stresses the need to regain what it describes as the UK's national sovereignty from the EU. It presents the EU as being an exemplar of non-accountability, corruption, and inefficiency, and views it as being responsible for the "flooding" of the UK with migrants, in particular from Eastern Europe. UKIP emphasises Euroscepticism to a far greater extent than any of Western Europe's other main radical right parties, and it was only post-2010 that it began seriously articulating other issues. Hayton nevertheless suggested that Euroscepticism still remains "the lens through which most of its other policy positions are framed and understood". The party opposed the 2004 enlargement of the European Union into eastern Europe. UKIP advocated leaving the European Union, stopping payments to the EU, and withdrawing from Treaties of the European Union, EU treaties, while maintaining trading ties with other European countries. Initially, UKIP's policy was that, in the event of them winning a general election, it would remove the UK from the EU without a referendum on the issue. The party leadership later suggested a referendum, expressing the view that in the case of an exit vote, it could negotiate favourable terms for the country's withdrawal, for instance through ensuring a free trade agreement between the UK and EU. UKIP eventually committed to a referendum in their 2015 manifesto. In contrast to involvement in the EU, UKIP has emphasised the UK's global connections, in particularly to member states of the Commonwealth of Nations. UKIP rejected the description that they were "Europhobes", maintaining that its stance was anti-EU, not anti-European. UKIP has placed great emphasis on the issue of immigration to the UK, and in 2013 Farage described it as "the biggest single issue facing this party". UKIP attributes British membership of the EU as the core cause of immigration to the UK, citing the Union's open-border policies as the reason why large numbers of East European migrants have moved to Britain. On their campaign billboards, UKIP have presented EU migrants as a source of crime, as well as a pressure on housing, the welfare state, and the health service. Farage has emphasised not only the economic impact of migration but also the public anxieties regarding the cultural changes brought by immigration. In its 2009 electoral manifesto, UKIP proposed a five-year ban on any migrants coming to the UK. By 2015, it had modified this to the view that the five-year ban should apply only to unskilled migrants. To regulate the arrival of skilled migrants, it called for the UK to adopt a points-based system akin to that employed by Australia. It advocated the establishment of a watchdog to help curb immigration, and bring the levels of net annual immigration down from the hundreds of thousands to between 20,000 and 50,000, which was the average level in the UK between 1950 and 2000. UKIP calls for all immigrants to require compulsory health insurance, and proposes that migrants be barred from claiming any state benefits until they had been resident in the UK for at least five years. UKIP gained traction from the fact that post-2008, immigration had come to the forefront of many Britons' minds as a result of increased EU migration and its concomitant social changes. By the 2015 general election, the political scientists James Dennison and Matthew Goodwin argued, UKIP had secured "ownership" of the immigration issue among British voters, having secured it from the Conservatives. However, the party's campaign against immigration has been accused of using racism and xenophobia to win votes. Political scientist David Art suggested that in its campaign to restrict immigration, UKIP had "flirted with xenophobia", while Daniel T. Dye stated that part of the party's appeal was its "sometimes-xenophobic populism", and the journalist Daniel Trilling stated that UKIP tapped into the "anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim populism" that was popular in the late 2000s. The political scientist Simon Usherwood stated that UKIP's hardening of immigration policy "risked reinforcing the party's profile as a quasi-far-right grouping", elsewhere stating that the party was only held together by its opposition to the EU and immigration, suggesting that it had "no ideological coherence" beyond that. In its 2015 campaign, UKIP called for the foreign aid budget to be cut. It has also advocated a 40% increase in the UK's national defence budget. It opposes British military involvement in conflicts that are not perceived to be in the national interest, specifically rejecting the concept of regime change wars through humanitarian interventionism. For instance, in 2014 it opposed the Cameron government's plans to intervene militarily against the government of Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian civil war. In 2018, UKIP pledged to work with anti-EU populist group The Movement (populist group), The Movement.


Economic policy

On economic policy, UKIP shares the main three parties' acceptance of the core principles of a capitalist market economy, and the party is generally at ease with the global free market. The academics Simon Winlow, Steve Hall, and James Treadwell commented that on economic issues, "UKIP wants to have its cake and eat it. It wants to retain the best bits of the market economy while discarding what it considers the negative outcomes of 21st-century neoliberalism." They noted for instance that it wanted "free movement of capital" yet wanted to curtail "the free movement of workers across borders". On economic issues, UKIP's original activist base was largely Right-libertarianism, libertarian, supporting an economically liberal approach. Its economic libertarian views have been influenced by
classical liberalism Classical liberalism is a political ideology and a History of liberalism, branch of liberalism that advocates free market, civil liberties under the rule of law with an emphasis on limited government, economic freedom, and political freedom. I ...
and
Thatcherism Thatcherism is a form of British conservative ideology named after Conservative Party Conservative Party may refer to: Europe Current *Croatian Conservative Party, *Conservative Party (Czech Republic) *Conservative People's Party (Denmark) ...
, with Thatcher representing a key influence on UKIP's thought. Farage has characterised UKIP as "the true inheritors" of Thatcher, claiming that the party never would have formed had Thatcher remained Prime Minister of the UK throughout the 1990s. Winlow, Hall, and Treadwell suggested that a UKIP government would pursue "hard-core Thatcherism" on economic policy. UKIP presents itself as a libertarian party, and the political scientists David Deacon and Dominic Wring described it as articulating "a potent brand of libertarian populism". However, commentators writing in ''The Spectator'', ''The Independent'', and the ''New Statesman'' have all challenged the description of UKIP as libertarian, highlighting its Cultural conservatism, socially conservative and economically protectionist policies as being contrary to a libertarian ethos. UKIP would allow businesses to favour British workers over migrants, and would repeal "much of" Britain's racial discrimination law, which was described as "shocking" by the Conservative–Liberal Democrat coalition government and viewed as discriminatory by others. However, Farage insists that his comments regarding his party's policies on these matters have been "wilfully misinterpreted". Although the party does not have an official stance on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, the party's former international trade spokesperson (William Legge, 10th Earl of Dartmouth, Lord Dartmouth) and former health and social care spokesperson (Louise Bours) have stated that they do not wish the National Health Service to be included in the trade deal, according to the ''International Business Times''.


Social policy

In ''The Guardian'', commentator Ed Rooksby described UKIP's approach to many social issues as being "traditionalist and socially conservative", while political scientist Stephen Driver has referred to the party's appeals to "traditional social values". UKIP opposed the introduction of same-sex marriage in the United Kingdom. UKIP wants to repeal the Human Rights Act 1998, Human Rights Act, and remove Britain from both the European Convention on Refugees and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).
-
On the repeal of Britain's signatory to the ECHR, UKIP would like to see a referendum on the reintroduction of the death penalty in the UK. In 2015, Farage attracted widespread press attention for suggesting that HIV positive patients who were not British citizens should not receive treatment on the NHS. In that same speech he stated that the UK should put the NHS "there for British people and families, who in many cases have paid into the system for years". Farage has spoken in favour of an insurance-based system in the past, which he said would resemble the French and Dutch style system rather than an American style private system, but this was rejected by the party. He has commented, "we may have to think about ways in the future about dealing with health care differently". Critics of UKIP have claimed that the party's real desire is to dismantle and privatise the NHS, a claim bolstered by the publication of leaked documents showing that in 2013 the UKIP NEC privately spoke positively of NHS privatisation. Although Farage had long been reticent about focusing on public anxieties surrounding Muslims in Britain, he spoke out following the Charlie Hebdo shooting, ''Charlie Hebdo'' shooting, claiming that there was a "fifth column" of Islamists in the UK who—while "mercifully small" in number—were "out to destroy our whole civilisation". At the same time he called for Western states to do more to promote their Judeo-Christian heritage, and criticised state
multiculturalism The term multiculturalism has a range of meanings within the contexts of sociology Sociology is a social science Social science is the branch The branches and leaves of a tree. A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes r ...

multiculturalism
for promoting social segregation, discouraging integration, and generating a "tick-box approach" to identity politics. In its 2017 manifesto, UKIP pledged to abolish the existence of sharia, sharia courts in the UK and ban the wearing of the niqab and burka in public; it claimed that these were needed to promote the integration of Muslims with wider British society. UKIP is the only major political party in the United Kingdom that does not endorse renewable energy and lower carbon emissions, and its media output regularly promotes
climate change denial Climate change denial, or global warming denial, is Denialism, denial, dismissal, or unwarranted doubt that contradicts the scientific consensus on climate change, including the extent to which it is Attribution of recent climate change, caused ...
. Farage and other senior UKIP figures have repeatedly spoken out against the construction of wind farms, deeming them a blot on the rural landscape. UKIP's media present renewable energy as inefficient and unaffordable, and they promote the use of fossil fuels, nuclear power, nuclear energy and fracking. UKIP has announced that it would repeal the Climate Change Act 2008 and has placed an emphasis on protecting the Green belt (United Kingdom), Green Belt. In its 2015 election manifesto, UKIP promised to teach a chronological understanding of "British history and achievements" in schools, and it calls for the scrapping of sex education for children under 11. UKIP would introduce an option for students to take an apprenticeship qualification instead of four non-core General Certificate of Secondary Education, GCSEs which can be continued at GCE Advanced Level, A Level. Schools would be investigated by OFSTED on the presentation of a petition to the Department for Education signed by 25% of parents or governors. UKIP have promoted the scrapping of the government target that 50% of school leavers attend university, and present the policy that tuition fees would be scrapped for students taking approved degrees in science, medicine, technology, engineering or mathematics. Farage argued that British Overseas Territories like Gibraltar should have representatives in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, akin to the privileges given to French overseas territories in France. Farage believes that all citizens for whom the British Parliament passes legislation, whether in the United Kingdom or its territories, deserve democratic representation in that Parliament.


Support


Financial backing

In 2008, Usherwood noted that UKIP relied heavily on a small number of major financial backers. According to ''The Guardian'', a leaked internal report to UKIP's executive committee dated to September 2012 shows that the party's leader argued that "the key to money for us will be the hedge fund industry". According to UKIP's annual returns to the Electoral Commission (United Kingdom), Electoral Commission, in 2013 the party had a total income of £2,479,314. Of this, £714,492 was from membership and subscriptions, £32,115 from fundraising activities and £1,361,640 from donations. By law, individual donations over £7,500 must be reported. UKIP has several high-profile backers. In March 2009, the Conservative Party's biggest-ever donor, Stuart Wheeler, donated £100,000 to UKIP after criticising Cameron's stance towards the Treaty of Lisbon. He was then expelled from the Conservatives and in 2011 appointed treasurer of UKIP. In October 2014, Arron Banks, who previously gave £25,000 to the Conservatives, increased his UKIP donation from £100,000 to £1 million after Hague said he had never heard of him. The multi-millionaire Paul Sykes (businessman), Paul Sykes has helped finance the party, donating over £1 million to their 2014 campaign at the European Parliament. In December 2014, Richard Desmond, proprietor of Express Newspapers, donated £300,000 to UKIP. Desmond had previously made the UKIP peer David Stevens, Baron Stevens of Ludgate, David Stevens his deputy chairman. The donation indicated that Desmond's papers, the ''Daily Express'', ''Sunday Express'', ''Daily Star (British newspaper), Daily Star'' and ''Daily Star Sunday'', would back UKIP in the 2015 general election. Three weeks before the election, Desmond gave the party a further £1 million. In September 2016, the major UKIP donor, Arron Banks, said that UKIP would be "dead in the water" if Diane James did not become leader. Following her departure after 18 days, Banks said that he would leave UKIP if Steven Woolfe was prevented from running for leader, and if two other members remained in the party: "If Neil Hamilton and
Douglas Carswell John Douglas Wilson Carswell (born 3 May 1971) is a British former politician who served as Member of Parliament A member of parliament (MP) is the representative of the people who live in their constituency. In many countries with Bicameral ...

Douglas Carswell
[UKIP's only MP] remain in the party, and the NEC decide that Steven Woolfe cannot run for leader, I will be leaving Ukip".


Membership

UKIP's membership numbers increased from 2002 to the time of the 2004 European Parliament election, before hovering around the 16,000 mark during the late 2000s.Feargal McGuinness,
Membership of UK political parties
'', House of Commons Library, 2012
In 2004, the party claimed 20,000 members, with this remaining broadly stable, and in June 2007 it had a recorded 16,700 members. By July 2013, the figure had grown to 30,000 before ending the year at 32,447. In 2014, the number was 36,000 on 22 April, by 7 May reached 37,000 and on 19 May, less than a fortnight later and only three days before the 2014 European Parliament election, rose to 38,000. In January 2015, UKIP membership was the fifth highest of British parties. Membership was 45,000 in May 2015, but since then has fallen to 32,757 in November 2016, and as low as 18,000 under Henry Bolton by January 2018. In June 2018, four political activists known through social media – Paul Joseph Watson, Mark Meechan, Carl Benjamin, and Milo Yiannopoulos – joined the party. This was followed by the party gaining around five hundred members. In July 2018, it was reported the party had attracted 3,200 new members, a 15% increase. The party's report to The Electoral Commission of its accounts as of 31 December 2020 stated the party had a membership of 3,888.


Voter base

In its early years, UKIP targeted itself towards southern English, middle-class Eurosceptic voters, those who had been supporters of the Conservative Party until John Major's Conservative government signed the Maastricht Treaty. This led to the widespread perception that UKIP's supporters were primarily middle-class ex-Conservative voters, with commentator Peter Oborne characterising UKIP as "the Conservative Party in exile". After 2009, UKIP refocused its attention to appeal primarily to white British, working-class, blue-collar workers; those who had traditionally voted Labour or in some cases for Thatcher's Conservatives but who had ceased voting or begun to vote BNP since the emergence of the New Labour project in the 1990s. In this way, UKIP's support base does not line up with the historical left-right divide in British politics, instead being primarily rooted in class divisions. This mirrored the voting base of other radical right parties across Western Europe which had grown since the early 1990s. This scenario had come about following the rapid growth of the middle-classes and the concomitant decline of the working-class population in Western Europe; the centre-left, social-democratic parties who had traditionally courted the support of the working classes largely switched their attention to the newly emergent middle-classes, leaving their initial support base increasingly alienated and creating the vacuum which the radical right exploited. On the basis of their extensive study of data on the subject, in 2014 the political scientists Matthew Goodwin and Robert Ford concluded that "UKIP's support has a very clear social profile, more so than any of the mainstream parties. Their electoral base is old, male, working class, white and less educated". They found that 57% of professed UKIP supporters were over the age of 54, while only one in ten were under 35, which they attributed to the fact that UKIP's socially conservative and Eurosceptic platform appealed far more to Britain's older generations that their younger counterparts, who were more socially liberal and less antagonistic towards the EU. 57% of UKIP supporters were male, which Ford and Goodwin suggested was due to women voters being put off by a number of high-profile sexist remarks made by UKIP candidates. 99.6% of UKIP supporters identified as white, reflecting the fact that ethnic minorities tended to avoid the party. 55% of UKIP supporters had left school aged 16 or under, with only 24% having attended university, suggesting that the party primarily appealed to the least educated voters in society. Ford and Goodwin also found that UKIP's support base was more working-class than that of any other party, with 42% of supporters in blue-collar jobs. Ford and Goodwin described UKIP's voters as primarily comprising the "left behind" sector of society, "older, less skilled and less well educated working-class voters" who felt disenfranchised from the mainstream political parties which had increasingly focused on attracting the support of middle-class swing voters. Ford and Goodwin nevertheless noted that UKIP was "not a purely blue-collar party but an alliance of manual workers, employers and the self-employed." Geoffrey Evans and Jon Mellon highlighted that UKIP receive "a greater proportion of their support from lower professionals and managers" than from any other class group. They highlighted that polls repeatedly demonstrated that UKIP drew more votes from Conservative voters than Labour ones. They suggested that the assumption that working-class voters who supported UKIP had previously been Labour voters was misplaced, suggesting that these people had ceased voting for Labour "a long time before UKIP were an effective political presence", having been alienated by Labour's "pro-middle class, pro-EU and, as it eventually turned out, pro-immigration agenda". In 2011, Goodwin, Ford, and David Cutts published a study that identified Euroscepticism as the main causal factor for voters supporting UKIP, with concern over immigration levels and distrust of the political establishment also featuring as important motives. They noted, however, that during elections for the European Parliament, UKIP was able to broaden its support to gain the vote of largely middle-class Eurosceptics who vote Conservative in other elections. From their analysis of the data, Ford and Goodwin stated that UKIP's support base has "strong parallels" both with that of Western Europe's other radical right parties and with the BNP during their electoral heyday. Conversely, an earlier study by Richard Whitaker and Philip Lynch, based on polling data from YouGov, concluded that UKIP voters were distinct from those of far-right parties. The authors found that voter support for UKIP correlated with concerns about the value of immigration and a lack of trust in the political system, but the biggest explanatory factor for their support of UKIP was Euroscepticism. A further study by the same authors suggests that UKIP voters' core beliefs align very closely to those of the UKIP candidates; particularly so on issues surrounding European integration, which has resulted in Conservative voters switching to UKIP due to Conservative divisions on this issue. One study found that 63% of UKIP voters considered themselves to be right-wing, while 22% thought centrist and 16% thought leftist. 81% believed that immigration undermined British culture, a view shared by only half the wider British population. On economic issues, there was a divide between UKIP voters and the party itself. In contrast to the party's economic liberalism, UKIP supporters often held more leftist attitudes to the economy, with almost 80% opining that big business took advantage of working people and almost 70% thinking that privatisation had gone too far. UKIP has been most successful along England's eastern and southern coasts, in parts of south-west England, and in the Labour heartlands of Northern England and Wales. It has not done well in London and in university towns and urban areas with younger populations like Oxford, Cambridge, Manchester, and Brighton. It has done well in areas with large numbers of old, white, and poorer people, and weaker in areas with larger numbers of younger, more ethnically and culturally diverse, and financially secure people. Ford and Goodwin noted that UKIP "barely registers" with young Britons, graduates, ethnic minorities, and pro-EU voters. According to an Opinium poll in December 2014 on the views of 17- to 22-year-olds, Farage was the least popular political leader. Only 3% of young people questioned said that they intended to vote for UKIP, compared with 19% among voters of all ages. The 17% who said they would vote outside the three main parties were four times more likely to vote for the Green Party of England and Wales, Green Party than for UKIP. Conversely, a March 2015 Ipsos Mori poll found among 18- to 34-year-olds UKIP was polling nearly as well as the Green Party, somewhat contradicting the idea that Farage lacked appeal for younger voters. On the basis of their fieldwork among supporters of the English Defence League (EDL), an anti-Islam social movement, Winlow, Hall, and Treadwell noted that most EDL supporters whom they encountered intended to vote for UKIP in the build-up to the 2015 general election. UKIP supporters are sometimes nicknamed "kippers". In May 2017, in response to large defections from the party, Goodwin said "Former Kippers did not walk but literally sprinted over to the Conservatives."


Organisation


Leadership

According to Part VII of the UKIP constitution, the party leader is voted for by postal ballot by all paid-up party members "in good standing". The winner is the candidate with the Majority, simple majority of votes cast. If there is only one valid candidate for the position, they are elected without the need for a ballot. While the default term length is four years, the leader can obtain an extension of up to a year if there is an imminent General or European Parliament election; this must be approved by at least two-thirds of the 12-person National Executive Committee (NEC). If at least nine NEC members endorse a vote of no confidence in the leader, an Emergency General Meeting (EGM) will be called. When the leadership becomes vacant unexpectedly, the NEC has fourteen days to name an interim leader who exercises all leadership functions until the next leadership election. The leader has the power to name a Deputy Leader of their own choice and assign them whatever duty they choose.


Timeline


Deputy leadership


Party chairman


Spokespersons

The front bench team is divided into departmental sub-units, the principal ones being the economy, foreign policy and immigration. Sometimes the front bench team consists of more than just the principal positions.


Regions

UKIP's organisation is divided into twelve regions: London, South East, South West, Eastern, East Midlands, West Midlands, Yorkshire, North East, North West, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland. An additional, thirteenth branch, operates in the British Overseas Territories, British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar; it held its first public meeting at the Lord Nelson pub in April 2013. At the end of 2013, UKIP Scotland was dissolved after infighting tore the regional party apart; the party's administrative body was dissolved, Mike Scott-Hayward (the chairman and chief fundraiser) quit, and Farage fired Lord Christopher Monckton via email. The national party and UKIP Scotland focused on supporting the candidates for the 2014 European Parliament election in the United Kingdom. After David Coburn (politician), David Coburn won an MEP seat in Scotland in those elections, he was elected as leader of UKIP Scotland. Veteran and former long-serving Antrim and Newtownabbey-based councillor, Robert Hill was appointed by Gerard Batten as UKIP's Spokesman for Northern Ireland in May 2018. In August 2018, Welsh Assembly Member Gareth Bennett (politician), Gareth Bennett was elected as leader of UKIP in Wales after a membership ballot.


Representatives


House of Commons

In the UK, the first-past-the-post voting system for electing MPs to the House of Commons was a significant barrier to UKIP, whose support was widely distributed across different areas rather than being strongly focused in particular constituencies. Further, the system encouraged tactical voting, with many UKIP supporters believing that a vote for the party would be a wasted vote. Recognising this, Farage believed that the best way to win a seat in the House of Commons was to win a by-election, with UKIP contesting a number of these from 2010 onward. Over the next few years, it contested a number of by-elections around the country, coming second in both 2011 Barnsley Central by-election, Barnsley Central and 2012 Rotherham by-election, Rotherham. In 2008, Bob Spink, the MP for Castle Point (UK Parliament constituency), Castle Point, resigned the Tory Whip (politics), whip (becoming an Independent politician, Independent), but in April that year joined UKIP. However, in November he appeared again as an Independent in Commons proceedings, ultimately losing the seat to a Conservative in 2010 United Kingdom general election, 2010. In 2014, two Conservative MPs changed allegiance to UKIP and resigned their seats to fight by-elections for UKIP.
Douglas Carswell John Douglas Wilson Carswell (born 3 May 1971) is a British former politician who served as Member of Parliament A member of parliament (MP) is the representative of the people who live in their constituency. In many countries with Bicameral ...

Douglas Carswell
won the 2014 Clacton by-election, Clacton by-election on 9 October, making him the first MP to be elected representing UKIP. Mark Reckless was also victorious in the Rochester and Strood by-election on 20 November. At the
2015 general election This national electoral calendar for 2015 lists the national/Federation, federal direct elections that were held in 2015 in all List of sovereign states, sovereign states and their Dependent territory, dependent territories. By-elections are e ...
, Carswell kept his seat in Clacton but Reckless lost Rochester to the Conservative Kelly Tolhurst. UKIP had 3,881,129 votes (12.6%) and was the third largest party on vote share, yet it won only one seat. Because of this, there were calls from some in UKIP for a voting reform in favour of
proportional representation#REDIRECT Proportional representation Proportional representation (PR) characterizes electoral systems in which divisions in an electorate are reflected proportionately in the elected body. The concept applies mainly to geographical, and to ideolog ...

proportional representation
. Carswell quit the party in March 2017 to become an independent, leaving UKIP without any MPs in the Commons. In the 2017 United Kingdom general election, 2017 election, a snap election initiated by PM Theresa May and scheduled for 8 June 2017, UKIP got 1.9% of the votes (after 12.6% in the 2015 United Kingdom general election, 2015 election) and no seats in the House of Commons.


House of Lords

On 24 June 1995, UKIP gained its first member of the House of Lords, Richard Norton, 8th Baron Grantley, The Lord Grantley, who had joined the party in 1993 from the Conservatives and had recently succeeded to his father's titles. However, with the coming House of Lords Act 1999, he decided not to stand for election as a continuing member, and so left the House in November 1999. Earlier in 1999, UKIP had gained a second peer in the House of Lords, Richard Thomas Orlando Bridgeman, 7th Earl of Bradford, The Earl of Bradford, but he, too, left the House in November 1999 because of the House of Lords Act. Malcolm Pearson, Baron Pearson of Rannoch, The Lord Pearson of Rannoch and David Verney, 21st Baron Willoughby de Broke, The Lord Willoughby de Broke both defected to UKIP in 2007, giving the party its first representation in the House of Lords since the departure of Lord Grantley and Lord Bradford. The Lord Pearson of Rannoch went on to serve as party leader from November 2009 to September 2010. On 18 September 2012, David Stevens, Baron Stevens of Ludgate, The Lord Stevens of Ludgate joined UKIP, having sat as an Independent Conservative since his expulsion from the Conservatives in 2004. In Autumn 2018, Lord Willoughby de Broke left UKIP, reducing the party's representation in the upper house back down to two. Lord Stevens also left the party, in December 2018, leaving former leader Lord Pearson as UKIP's sole peer. In October 2019, Lord Pearson resigned his membership of the party, leaving the party with no representatives in the House of Lords.


Devolved parliaments and assemblies

UKIP competes electorally in all four parts of the United Kingdom. Northern Ireland In October 2012, UKIP gained its first representation in a devolved Assembly the Northern Ireland Assembly in David McNarry, Member of the Legislative Assembly (Northern Ireland), MLA for Strangford (Assembly constituency), Strangford, who had left the Ulster Unionist Party. The party however failed to continue its representation at the 2016 Northern Ireland Assembly election, 2016 election, coming within a hundred votes of taking a seat in East Antrim (Assembly constituency), East Antrim. This seat was unsuccessfully contested in the 2017 Northern Ireland Assembly election, 2017 election. Scotland UKIP's support has been particularly weak in Scotland, where it has no representatives in the devolved parliament. UKIP fielded candidates at the 2011 Scottish Parliament election, Scottish Parliament election on 5 May 2011, when its platform included a commitment to keep the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, while replacing the separately-elected Member of the Scottish Parliament, Members of the Scottish Parliament with the Scottish Grand Committee, Members of the House of Commons elected in Scotland. The party fielded candidates on the regional lists in the 2016 Scottish Parliament election, 2016 election without any success. In the 2021 Scottish Parliament election candidates were again fielded on regional lists. Wales The party also fielded candidates for the National Assembly for Wales, Senedd. In the 2016 National Assembly for Wales election, 2016 election, it entered the Assembly for the first time, winning seven of 60 seats. However, following the resignations of Caroline Jones (politician), Caroline Jones, Mark Reckless, Nathan Gill and Michelle Brown, by March 2019 the party's representation had fallen to three AMs. UKIP ceased to have a formal Welsh Assembly group after David Rowlands (Welsh politician), David Rowlands resigned in May 2019 to form a new Brexit Party group with Reckless, Jones and Mandy Jones (politician), Mandy Jones (who had replaced Nathan Gill on his resignation as an AM). UKIP were left without any Senedd members after the 2021 Senedd election


Local government

UKIP initially paid little attention to local government elections. However, this changed after Farage observed that building localised strongholds of support in various parts of the country had been the process by which the Liberal Democrats (UK), Liberal Democrats had entered the House of Commons, and that this was a strategy that could benefit UKIP. UKIP subsequently focused on the 2011 United Kingdom local elections, 2011 local elections, in which it fielded over 1,100 candidates, winning seven seats and becoming the main opposition in over 100. The first UKIP local council election win occurred when one of its members was elected to South Cambridgeshire District Council in 2000. A number of Conservative, Liberal Democrat, Labour and Independent local councillors in all four constituent nations of the UK defected to UKIP over subsequent years, with the most recent defections to date (May to July 2013) coming from former Conservative councillors in the London Boroughs of London Borough of Merton, Merton, London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Havering, Havering, and from Labour in Northampton and North-East Lincolnshire. In May 2013, 33 English and one Welsh council held local elections, with UKIP gaining 139 seats for a total of 147, with significant gains in Lincolnshire County Council, Lincolnshire, Norfolk County Council, Norfolk and Kent County Council, Kent. In the 2013 local elections, UKIP won 147 seats and established itself as the largest opposition party in six English county councils. At the 2013 United Kingdom local elections, 2013 and 2014 United Kingdom local elections, 2014 local elections, UKIP made significant gains to become the fourth largest party in terms of councillors in England, and fifth largest in the UK, with over 300 seats (out of about 21,000). In the 2015 United Kingdom local elections, 2015 local elections, UKIP took control of Thanet District Council, its first majority control of a council. However, the party lost control later in the year after several of its councillors defected and it lost its majority. UKIP later took back control as a majority after winning the 2016 Northwood ward by-election, taking its number of councillors up to 29. In the 2016 United Kingdom local elections, 2016 local elections, UKIP won 58 council seats, an increase of 25. In the 2017 United Kingdom local elections, UKIP lost all of the seats it was defending but gained one from Labour on Lancashire County Council. in the 2018 United Kingdom local elections, UKIP lost all but 3 of the 126 seats it was defending. In the 2019 United Kingdom local elections, UKIP suffered severe losses, with its number of councillors collapsing by 145 to 31, in the districts where votes were held that year. Its worst result was in Thanet where it lost 33 councillors. In the 2021 United Kingdom local elections the party's support fell away and all the 48 council seats in England the party were defending were lost. No seats were won in the
London Assembly The London Assembly is a 25-member elected body, part of the Greater London Authority The Greater London Authority (GLA), colloquially known by the metonym "City Hall", is the Devolution in the United Kingdom, devolved Regions of England, r ...
, Police and Crime Commissioners or elections for Mayors.


European Parliament

As a result of its hard Eurosceptic approach, UKIP does not recognise the legitimacy of the European Parliament, and under Sked's leadership refused to take any of the EP seats that it won. This changed after 1997, when the party decided that its elected representatives would take such seats to publicise its anti-EU agenda. As a result of the 1999 European Parliament election in the United Kingdom, 1999 European parliament election, three UKIP MEPs were elected to the
European Parliament The European Parliament (EP) is one of three Legislature, legislative branches of the European Union and one of its seven Institutions of the European Union, institutions. Together with the Council of the European Union, it adopts European legi ...

European Parliament
. Together with Eurosceptic parties from other nations, they formed a new Political groups of the European Parliament, European parliamentary group called Europe of Democracies and Diversities (EDD). Following the 2004 European Parliament election in the United Kingdom, 2004 European parliament election, 37 Member of the European Parliament, MEPs from the UK, 2004 European Parliament election in Poland, Poland, 2004 European Parliament election in Denmark, Denmark and 2004 European Parliament election in Sweden, Sweden founded a new European Parliamentary group called Independence and Democracy as a direct successor to the EDD group. After the 2009 European Parliament election in the United Kingdom, 2009 European parliament election, UKIP was a founder member of a new right-wing grouping called Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD) comprising Eurosceptic, radical right, nationalist, national-conservative and other political factions. This group was more right-wing than the previous term's Independence and Democracy group. Following the 2014 European Parliament election in the United Kingdom, 2014 European parliament election, the EFD group was reconstituted as the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD or EFD2) group on 24 June 2014, with a significant changes to group composition, including the Five Star Movement of Italy, a total of 48 members. The EFDD group lost official status in October 2014 when the defection of the Latvian MEP Iveta Grigule meant its membership no longer met the required number of states for Parliamentary groups (at least seven different member states). On 20 October, the EFDD announced it had restored the requisite seven state diversity by recruiting Robert Iwaszkiewicz, one of four representatives of the far-right Polish party Congress of the New Right. In December 2014 UKIP co-founded the
Alliance for Direct Democracy in Europe The Alliance for Direct Democracy in Europe, abbreviated to ADDE, was a European political party A European political party, known formally as a political party at European level and informally as a Europarty, is a type of political party orga ...
, a
European political party A European political party, known formally as a political party at European level and informally as a Europarty, is a type of political party organisation operating transnationally in Europe and within the institutions of the European Union. They ...
whose membership is composed of several member parties of the EFDD parliamentary group. In the 2009–14 parliament, UKIP ranked 76th out of 76 for attendance, took part in 61% of votes, and had three of the six lowest attending MEPs, which led to criticism from other parties and ex-UKIP MEPs that low participation may damage British interests. Between July 2014 and May 2015, its 23 MEPs maintained their record as the least active, participating on average in only 62.29% of votes. In response to criticism of low participation by UKIP MEPs in the EU Parliament, Farage has said that "Our objective as MEPs is not to keep voting endlessly for more EU legislation and to take power away from Westminster."


Members of the European Parliament

UKIP had no members in the European Parliament following the 2019 EU election. Twenty-four UKIP representatives were elected in the 2014 election, but twenty subsequently defected, one was expelled and three lost their seats in the 2019 election. For a full list of defections see List of British politicians who have crossed the floor#List of Members of the European Parliament who have crossed the floor, here. James Carver left UKIP to sit as an independent on 28 May 2018. William Legge, 10th Earl of Dartmouth, William Dartmouth left the party on 26 September 2018 to sit as an independent, accusing Batten of "hijacking the party to campaign against Islam as a religion" and associating himself with "outlandish people and extreme right-wing groups". Bill Etheridge followed shortly afterwards, on 2 October 2018, saying that the party under Batten's leadership "is seen by voters as a vehicle of hate towards Muslims and the gay community". In November 2018, Patrick O'Flynn resigned to join the 'rump' Social Democratic Party (UK, 1990–present), Social Democratic Party in protest over the party's move to the "hard right", and Louise Bours is now independent. Former leader Nigel Farage quit on 6 December 2018, as did Scottish MEP David Coburn. Another former leader Paul Nuttall quit the party the following day as did
London Assembly The London Assembly is a 25-member elected body, part of the Greater London Authority The Greater London Authority (GLA), colloquially known by the metonym "City Hall", is the Devolution in the United Kingdom, devolved Regions of England, r ...
Member Peter Whittle (politician), Peter Whittle. It was reported that Tim Aker had also quietly quit the party earlier in 2018. Julia Reid announced her resignation from UKIP on 8 December 2018, with Jonathan Bullock following the next day. Jill Seymour, Jane Collins and Margot Parker left for the Brexit Party on 15 April 2019, with the first of those three citing the party's current direction and occupation of 'the extreme right of politics' and the second citing Batten's 'sick' defence of Carl Benjamin#Rape comments, Carl Benjamin's rape comments. On 17 April, Jonathan Arnott and Ray Finch both defected to The Brexit Party and along with Seymour, Collins and Parker sat in the EFDD group. As of April 2019, Batten and Agnew were members of the
Europe of Nations and Freedom Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF; french: link=no, Europe des nations et des libertés, ENL) was a political group in the European Parliament The European Parliament (EP) is one of three Legislature, legislative branches of the European Un ...
group in the European Parliament while Hookem was ''Non-Inscrit'' (unattached). All lost their seats in the European Parliament in June 2019.


Election results


General elections

During the 2010–15 Parliament, two Conservative MPs defected to UKIP and were re-elected in subsequent by-elections. At the 2015 general election, UKIP retained one of these seats (
Clacton Clacton-on-Sea is the largest town in the Tendring Tendring is a village and civil parish in Essex. It gives its name to the Tendring District and before that the Tendring (hundred), Tendring Hundred. Its name was given to the larger groupin ...
) and received over 30% of the vote in Boston and Skegness (UK Parliament constituency), Boston and Skegness, South Thanet (UK Parliament constituency), South Thanet, Heywood and Middleton (UK Parliament constituency), Heywood and Middleton, Thurrock (UK Parliament constituency), Thurrock and Rochester and Strood (UK Parliament constituency), Rochester and Strood. It lost its only seat in the 2017 election, when Clacton was regained by the Conservatives.


Reception


Other political groups

In campaigning on emotive issues, UKIP has proved divisive. Popular stereotypes have framed it as a far-right party, and portrayed its activists as old white men holding offensive views. The party has faced vocal opposition from
anti-fascist Anti-fascism is a political movement in opposition to fascist Fascism () is a form of far-right, authoritarian ultranationalism characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition and strong regimentation of socie ...
groups such as Hope not Hate, who have accused it of tapping into nationalist and xenophobic sentiment in its campaigns. Writing for ''The New York Times Magazine'', Geoffrey Wheatcroft noted that there had been "a concerted campaign to brand UKIP as racist, an accusation that some of its own activists have done nothing to discourage." Goodwin and Caitlin Milazzo highlighted that Farage had been "routinely ridiculed and dismissed", at best being portrayed as "a beer-swilling populist who wanted to drag Britain back to the 1950s" while at worst depicted as "a racist... would-be demagogue" who secretly wanted to overthrow the UK's liberal parliamentary democracy. For many years, mainstream political figures derided or demeaned the importance of UKIP, although this did little to obstruct its electoral advances. By 2014, at which point UKIP was securing significant electoral support in the European Parliamentary elections, the main parties began to take it more seriously and devoted more time to countering the electoral threat it posed to them, in turn drawing more journalistic attention to the party. This increased attention gave the party the "oxygen of publicity" which helped bring the party to the attention of previously inattentive voters. Many on Britain's centre-left have been reluctant to accept that UKIP was hindering public support for Labour, instead believing that they were primarily a problem for the Conservatives and would thus help produce a Labour victory. Labour found that their campaign strategy of accusing UKIP of racism backfired, as rather than distancing UKIP supporters from the party it contributed to the perception that Labour failed to understand widespread concerns regarding immigration. A December 2014 poll by ComRes found that voters saw UKIP as closer to the centre-ground of politics than the Conservatives.


Media and academia

The British press have publicised statements made by UKIP activists and candidates which have been regarded as racist, sexist or otherwise bigoted. Among the examples of UKIP representatives and supporters embarrassing the party have been an MEP who called for a ban on the construction of mosques and for all British Muslims to sign a code of conduct, a councillor who suggested that shops should be allowed to refuse service to women and homosexuals, and a council candidate who compared Islam to Nazism and told black comedian Lenny Henry to leave Britain after the latter called for greater ethnic diversity within the UK's creative industries. In 2015, a documentary called ''Meet the Ukippers'' filmed activists making racist statements; one said "the only people I do have a problem with are negroes". For many years such individuals were internally tolerated within the party, although as part of Farage's push to professionalise the party a number of its members, such as MEP Godfrey Bloom, were expelled for making comments that brought UKIP into disrepute. In 2018, Jo Marney—who was then the girlfriend of the party leader Henry Bolton—was suspended from UKIP after it was revealed that she had sent texts stating that black Africans were "ugly". In these messages, she had criticised Meghan Markle for marrying into the British royal family, stating that Markle was "a dumb little commoner" and "a black American. Pushing their way to the top slowly. Next will be a Muslim PM and a black king." In a May 2014 YouGov survey, 47% considered the media to be biased against UKIP, which was double the percentage who deemed the media biased against any other party. The BBC received almost 1,200 complaints about its coverage of the 2014 European and local elections; 149 claimed that the BBC were biased against UKIP, while the rest claimed that it gave disproportionate attention to the party. The BBC defended its coverage. Farage accused the BBC of a "liberal bias", particularly on issues of immigration, the EU, and climate change. David Deacon and Dominic Wring's examination of press coverage of UKIP during their 2014 campaign demonstrated that of the elite newspapers, the pro-EU titles ''The Guardian'' and ''The Observer'' gave the most coverage to perceived racist and intolerant aspects of the party, while the Eurosceptic titles ''The Times'' and ''The Sunday Times'' instead focused on questioning the propriety and integrity of UKIP representatives. Among the populist tabloids, ''The Sun (United Kingdom), The Sun''/''Sun on Sunday'' and the ''Daily Mirror''/''Sunday Mirror'' were found to contain the most negative coverage of UKIP, while the ''Daily Express'' and ''Sunday Express''—owned by UKIP donor Richard Desmond—gave significantly lower coverage to the gaffes and prejudices of UKIP representatives. Deacon and Wring noted that the majority of those right-wing newspapers that share UKIP's views on immigration also share the perspective of more liberal newspapers that many of UKIP's interventions are racist. This right-wing press opposition to UKIP may result from the allegiance that these newspapers have to the Conservatives, and resulting perception of UKIP as an electoral threat. Academic research has been carried out into UKIP. In 2016, it was noted that most of this had focused on examining the party's electoral support base, its consequences for other parties, and the possibilities and prospects of a referendum on continued EU membership, with little having focused on an examination of the party's policies. Two currents have emerged among those seeking to interpret UKIP: the first, and generally older, current views them as a manifestation of Britain's strong Eurosceptic movement, while the second seeks to explain their position in the British parliamentary system while drawing upon the comparative literature on right-wing populist parties elsewhere in Europe.


See also

* Euroscepticism in the United Kingdom * Russian interference in the 2016 Brexit referendum *2010s in United Kingdom political history


Notes


References


Citations


Sources

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Further reading

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External links

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