The end of the UKIP as we know it could be drawing close, as the party suffered big losses across the country in this year’s local council elections.
Graeme Waddicar, UK Independence Party candidate for Stocksbridge and Upper Don in Sheffield, said: “I think we’ll have to have a serious think about the future of UKIP. The new leader Gerard Batten is making a very good start but it’s just too little, too late for this election.”
UKIP has lost more than 100 seats across England, including one seat in Sheffield.
A big thank you to all the UKIP candidates who stood, and to all those who voted for us. Yes we are disappointed but we knew it was going to be difficult. However, when all the numbers are in it looks like UKIP will be on an average of 5-7%.
— Gerard Batten MEP (@GerardBattenMEP) 4 May 2018
Mr Waddicar said: “People in the past felt left behind and I think UKIP filled that vacuum. We need to get back into that position where we can do that, but it’ll take time to rebuild it.”
UKIP saw one significant gain in Derby, as the Labour leader of Derby City Council lost to UKIP’s Paul Bettany.
Mr Waddicar said: “It took Nigel Farage 25 years to get the referendum and it’s taken us 18 months to nearly destroy the party, so it’ll take a wee while to get it built up.”
Dennise Dawson, UKIP candidate for East Ecclesfield, left early during the election count at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield after learning of her loss to Labour’s Moya O’Rourke.
The seat for East Ecclesfield was previously held by UKIP’s Pauline Andrews who won the seat in 2016 and retired in 2018.
Mr Waddicar said: “Dennise is very upset about it. She thought she’d let us down, I think, but she hasn’t at all. We tried to do local issues for local people, but I think it has gone national.”
Ms Dawson lost by 1,191 votes to Labour. Mr Waddicar lost out to Labour’s Francyne Johnson by 1,267 votes, despite losing by only three votes to Labour in 2016.
Ms Dawson said: “We were always kicking up hill. I actually think a lot of UKIP voters went back to vote tactically for the Conservative Party to probably keep Labour out.”
The Labour Party lost three seats in Sheffield this year and one in a Mosborough by-election to the Liberal Democrats in 2016. The Green Party and Liberal Democrats also won two seats each.