Once again an election for a Westminster seat has highlighted the struggle UKIP has with first past the post elections. Even though it was placed third in terms of national vote share at GE2015 it only managed one of the 650 MPs. That was, of course, Carswell’s Clacton seat which he’d won in the 2014 by election when he’d stood as a defector incumbent.
Getting to be top dog in one of the Westminster seats requires a very different approach to campaigning than the party brand building that serves the purples well in the EU parliament elections.
The party has struggled enormously with English council seats as well for the very same reason.
The next PR type elections that could prove fertile for Nuttall’s party are those for the list seats in the 2021 Welsh Assembly elections.
Given where UKIP started from, 2nd at GE2015, in Stoke and the way the constituency voted in the referendum all looked good for the party especially as the leader had put himself forward.
It was not to be and the hoped for switching from GE2015 CON voters didn’t happen.
Would it have been any different with the nomination form address issue and of course the Hillsborough revelations? Hard to say.
But unless UKIP is very lucky indeed there won’t be a by-election with as much promise again before GE2020. The Tories have shown that they can pick up seats in the north.