Share This Page

Voters drub conservatives in England

| Friday, May 3, 2013, 8:15 p.m.
AFP/Getty Images
Nigel Farage leads the UK Independent Party, once dismissed as “fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists” by Prime Minister David Cameron.

LONDON — David Cameron's Conservatives took a drubbing in local elections amid a surge of support for an anti-European Union and anti-immigration party, heaping pressure on the British prime minister to appeal to the dissident right-wing of his own party.

Echoing results across Europe, British voters appeared to punish the ruling government, fed up with economic doldrums and austerity measures. Britain's nationalist party appeared to be the recipient of a sizeable protest vote against the political elite and the EU, analysts said.

According to returns Friday from 34 contests across England, the right-wing United Kingdom Independence Party, or UKIP, won 139 county council seats, while the mainstream opposition Labour Party gained 291.

The Liberal Democrats — junior partners in Britain's coalition government — were down 124 county council seats, while Cameron's ruling Conservatives lost 335 seats in Thursday's vote.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage — whose party Cameron once referred to as a bunch of “fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists” — said the results will send a “shock wave” through the British political establishment.

“This is a real sea change in British politics,” Farage told the BBC.

Cameron's popularity has taken a beating as the government sticks to a strict policy of austerity to cut Britain's debts, slashing public sector jobs and welfare payments.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.