Douglas Carswell took a risk when he abandoned the Conservative Party and joined Ukip, rather than just serve out his time as an MP; he resigned his seat and stood for re-election, asking the people to give him a mandate.
It was a gutsy thing to do.
Sometimes in life a gamble pays off, and last night it paid off for Douglas Carswell as the UK Independence Party beat the Tories to win their first seat in parliament.
That in itself alone isn’t a political earthquake but in the other by-election, Ukip narrowly failed to pick up a second off Labour.
Although this is a major headache for Prime Minister David Cameron’s leadership, it also represents a problem for the Labour Party.
I said previously I hoped Carswell won his seat back, his views are quite strong but at least he puts his money where his mouth is, Carswell last night won 60 per cent of the vote. He is known as a political figure but more than that, he is a hard worker in his area and has a following among voters.
The other result Ukip coming within 617 votes of taking the Heywood and Middleton seat in the north west of the England is just as interesting. Although one by-election is meaningless in terms of data, the Ukip brand has now been established in the North and South of England, in Scotland, we saw in the Euro, a Ukip MEP returned as well.
Nigel Farage has had a good night, and there are possibly other good nights to be had in Westminster 2015.
Matter have been helped by an impressive showing in the European Election as Ukip became the first non party of government or official opposition to win an election in 100 years.
Carswell syas his return is “an end to the cosy cartel politics” of the old established Westminster parties.
In some respects he is right, what this is a kick up the backside side that voters are being more savvy about who they want to give their vote to.
Ukip MEP Diane James, who is the Ukip Justice spokesperson said she expects more Tory MPs to defect and “a potential defection from Labour as well.”
Well, as the old saying goes, ‘I will believe that when I see it’.
Diane James has also revealed that her party will next year for the first time fight all 650 seats in the general election.
This is a major commitment and parties will be looking very closely at where to put extra resources in to to try and fend off Ukip.
Despite Labour winning a seat in the shape of Liz McInnes only won the seat on a 36 per cent turnout senior Labour backbencher John Mann tweeted:
“Ed Miliband does a lot of listening. Now he needs to do a bit more hearing.”
He also tweeted:
“If Ed Miliband does not broaden the Labour coalition to better include working class opinion then we cannot win a majority government.”
Yes, that is about the size of it for the Labour Party, more working class MPs who speak to working class issues.
Tory Treasury minister Priti Patel said:
“This is essentially a by-election and this sort of thing seems to happen with by-elections where people are disaffected. But when it comes to a general election people vote on the big issues like job security and the economy at which point it is a choice between David Cameron and Ed Miliband.”
“People need to understand that a vote for Ukip is a vote for Ed Miliband.”
Trying to defend the old system, this thinking is how the two main parties got in the state they are at present.
Douglas Carswell won with 21,113 votes ahead of Tory Giles Watling with 8,709, it was a good win.
“The reality is that people want change and that is why they are turning to Ukip, it is the only party offering change.”
It is not enough for parties to “listen”, they also have to act on it.
The Lib Dems won just one per cent of the vote and came fifth behind the Greens in their worst by-election ever, rather than building his party back up, Nick Clegg should realize he is the problems, people will be not voting Lib Dem while he remains in charge.
Clegg’s time is over as leader and he should recognise this and accept his fate.
This result wasn’t unexpected, momentum is now firmly with Ukip and there will be a lot of sleepless nights for Cameron and Miliband.
Well done Douglas Carswell, his win was the largest ever increase in votes of any party in any by-election in the UK, makes the win even more impressive.
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University