U.K. Conservatives Fret as UKIP Gains Ground

Upstart party picks up defectors and supporters


Ukip has gained more than 30 council seats in just three months in worrying sign for the Conservative Party's local election prospects.

It has attracted more than 20 council defectors from the Conservatives since the beginning of the year - a rate of more than one a week. It has also taken councillors off the several Liberal Democrats and some independent parties.

On top of that, the party has made more net gains than Labour in council by-elections, according to the Political Betting website. Last night, it won a seat on North East Lincolnshire Council, adding to recent gains in Surrey, Cheshire and Greater London.

One of the party's biggest coups has been winning round Roger Arthur, a senior Tory district councillor in Horsham - the constituency of Cabinet minister Francis Maude.

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