Cameron’s Electoral Misfortunes Multiply

Cameron’s Electoral Misfortunes MultiplyCameron’s Electoral Misfortunes Multiply

Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservatives lost a second parliamentary seat to the anti-EU UKIP party in Britain on Friday, an embarrassing defeat that foreshadows a possible political upheaval in next year’s national election.

With distrust of mainstream parties and anxiety about immigration rising, UKIP, the UK Independence Party, comfortably beat Cameron’s party in a special election in the southeast English constituency of Rochester and Strood six months before what is shaping up to be a closely-fought national vote, according to the Reuters.

“Rochester and Strood was our 271st most winnable seat,” Mark Reckless, UKIP’s winning candidate, said after the results were announced. “If we can win here we can win across the country.”

Cameron’s right-leaning Conservatives and the opposition left-wing Labour Party are facing simultaneous challenges from UKIP and Scottish nationalists that could revolutionize a two-party system in place since 1945.

The victory for UKIP, which favors an immediate British EU exit and sharply lower immigration, will unsettle businesses, investors and European partners who fear Britain could be slipping towards an exit from the European Union.

Comments by Reckless immediately after his win will do little to steady those nerves.

“If you believe that the world is bigger than Europe, if you believe in an independent Britain then come with us and we will give you back your country,” he said, to prolonged applause from supporters.

Reckless was a Conservative lawmaker until he became the party’s second parliamentarian to defect to UKIP in September triggering Thursday’s vote. His new party hopes his electoral success will spur other defections.

Reckless won 16,867 votes or just over 42 percent of the vote, giving him a majority of 2,920, less than opinion polls of voter intentions had suggested but still a comfortable win.

Cameron’s Conservatives, who won the seat in 2010 with a majority of almost 10,000, came second with 13,947 votes despite mobilizing all their resources to try to hold the seat.

Labour, which on Thursday night found itself embroiled in an awkward scandal after one of its senior lawmakers was accused of sneering at working class voters, came third with 6,713 votes.