UKIP councillors say it is an ‘historic moment’ in British politics after the party stormed to victory in the Clacton by-election and clinched its first MP in Westminster.
And they’re hoping the run of good fortune will continue and see major upsets being caused when voters decide who should run for Parliament in Portsmouth’s seats at next year’s General Election.
Douglas Carswell, who had defected from the Tories, defeated his former party by a Clacton by a landslide yesterday.
And in what was seen as a complete shock, Labour’s majority in Heywood and Middleton in a separate by-election was slashed from nearly 6,000 to 617 thanks to Ukip’s rising popularity.
Cllr Steve Hastings, deputy leader of Portsmouth’s Ukip group, said: ‘It is an historic moment and this potentially has a long way to go.
‘Politics is changing. I think we have got the potential to take one seat in Portsmouth (Portsmouth South) and I am going to be doing all I can to push the north as well.
‘It’s a great victory in Clacton, but frankly it was expected.
‘What was more surprising was the return in the Labour vote in Heyward and Middleton.
‘If MPs are defecting from the Conservatives and joining Ukip, then I think voters should too.’
Ukip’s Fratton ward councillor, Julie Swan, dethroned long-standing councillor Mike Hancock in this year’s local elections.
Cllr Swan said: ‘We saw things change at the May elections; that was just the start.
‘With the election of our first MPS, it’s the start of the house of cards falling.
‘People have had enough of the old political parties and people throwing abuse at each other and not getting on with the job. They want a change.’
Meanwhile, Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock says the city’s seats will have to be watched ‘very carefully’ at next year’s parliamentary elections in light of Ukip’s surge in popularity at the polls.
Speaking to The News, Mr Hancock said: ‘What it means is there are seats across the country, including in Portsmouth, which people will have to watch very carefully.
‘I think all the mainstream parties will have to have a very careful look at how they play things and this result will see more Tory MPs shifting their position.
‘We might have one or two more defections closer to the election.’
Mr Hancock, while an independent, said the Ukip message did not appeal to him.