UKIP were today celebrating major election gains throughout the country including taking 10 seats on Rotherham Council, writes Graham Walker.
The party won 10 of the 21 seats up for grabs in the borough, taking seven from Labour, two from the Conservatives and it also held a seat it won in a by-election last year.
VIDEO: Press the play button to watch report from the Rotherham count.
READ MORE: Jubilant Farage praises Ukip result - CLICK HERE.
Labour retain control of Rotherham but last night’s UKIP success means it will will be the largest opposition group on the authority.
Ukip’s scalps included deputy council leader Jahangir Akhtar and Richard Russell, cabinet member for waste.
Sheffield, Barnsley and Doncaster local election results will be announced later today.
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In Rotherham Coun Caven Vines, Rotherham branch chairman and councillor for the Rawmarsh ward, described it as a “phenomenal” result for the party.
“To take 10 is unbelievable. But not only that we’ve come so close in others losing by just a few votes,” he added.
John Healey, the Labour MP for Wentworth and Dearne, admitted it had been a good night for UKIP.
“This is a message or a warning if you like to all mainstream parties. A challenge to us all because people are angry,” he said.
Every voter in the region also had the chance to cast a ballot in the European elections but those results will not be announced until Sunday evening.
Ukip’s success in Rotherham is a significant blow to Labour in its South Yorkshire heartland in a district where prior to last night the party held 57 of the council’s 63 seats.
And their success will offer Ukip evidence to support their assertion that they are as much of a threat to Labour in the North as to the Conservatives in South.
On the night, Ukip held the Rawmarsh ward it picked up in a by-election last year and added nine more seats, seven taken from Labour and two from the Conservatives.
Ukip received huge backing in the campaign from millionaire Yorkshire businessman Paul Sykes who bankrolled the party’s controversial billboard campaign which prompted accusations of racism from its opponents.
Coun Vines added: “This will send shock waves. I hope the main parties take note, open their eyes and follow some of Ukips policies, get us out of Europe and get control of our borders back.
“I have been saying that Ukip needs to get its foot on the ladder and we have now got to get MPs into Westminster. We are now on the road.
“If you can break Rotherham, the rest will follow.”
Asked whether Ukip will be a long term feature of Rotherham politics, Mr Cavan said: “I would hope so, who can tell. We have go to be realistic, this could be a protest vote.
“And if it is I just hope that the major parties realise they have got it wrong and these guys have got it right. If they do that I will claim that as a victory.”
Earlier in the night, Ukip’s Patrick O’Flynn, director of communications and an MEP candidate, said he wanted the party to secure more than 100 council seats, adding to Sky News: “That would be terrific for us. I think we can do it.”
In an email to supporters, Mr Cameron said the choice in 2015 would be between the Tories and Labour - with no mention of Ukip but an appeal to “every Conservative in the country” to vote Tory.
He said: “Whatever the results, I feel immensely proud of the campaign we fought together.”
Ukip chairman Steve Crowther said the results were “so far, so good” for the party and insisted the successes were “not a flash in the pan”.
He dismissed suggestions voters were turning the party simply as a protest, telling BBC Breakfast: “They are saying that but there is an air of desperation about it to be perfectly honest because this has now been going on for sometime and it’s a consistent thing.
“Ukip have been building for 20 years consistently and we have now reached a point where we have broken into the old party system. It is now four party politics and this is not a flash in the pan.
“The other parties are looking a little bit panic stricken.”
He added: “We are absolutely delighted with the 10 seats we have taken in Rotherham. That was just a tremendous result.”
Mr Crowther said the results in Essex had been “remarkable”. “It really has turned purple,” he added.