The Business Times

Independence Party's win underscores British political flux

Published Mon, Oct 13, 2014 · 09:50 PM

IT is less than a month since the UK's domestic politics captured world headlines with the landmark Scottish referendum outcome. However, yet another (smaller) political earthquake rippled through the British electoral landscape on Friday with the news that the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) has won its first seat in the House of Commons in Clacton, southern England.

UKIP, a party built around a policy of British withdrawal from the European Union, claims that the victory signals a "shift in the tectonic plates of British politics". And it could be replicated in another by-election in Rochester and Strood, also in southern England, in November.

To be sure, some dismiss UKIP's success on Friday as an electoral "flash in the pan". However, this ignores the party's earlier landmark success in May in winning the European Parliament vote in Britain, thus becoming the first party other than the Conservatives or Labour to win a UK national election in over 100 years.

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