The Nigel Farage effect in one cartoon

Matthew Champion@matthewchampion
Saturday 22 November 2014 12:30

The Rochester and Strood by-election, won by Ukip defector Mark Reckless, was disastrous for the three main parties at Westminster.

For the Conservative Party it represented the second by-election loss to one of its former MPs in a matter of months, but most damagingly it came after David Cameron vowed to "throw the kitchen sink" at the constituency, with MPs ordered to make at least three campaigning stops (the prime minister himself made five).

For Labour the fallout from shadow attorney general Emily Thornberry's tweet rumbles on, with Ed Miliband facing new accusations his party is out of touch with its traditional core voters.

For the Lib Dems meanwhile the party lost its deposit, earning just 349 votes, narrowly putting it ahead of the Monster Raving Loony Party and a former dominatrix standing as an independent.

But, that said, there are dangers for any of the parties, especially the Tories, seeking to emulate Ukip's success by pandering to its agenda.

Tory modernisers have warned Mr Cameron he will lose next year's election if he simply apes Ukip.

Ryan Shorthouse, director of the Bright Blue group, commented: "Cameron should stop fighting on Ukip's agenda, trying to sound tougher on immigration and the EU. Being Ukip-lite only helps Ukip."

More: [Ukip aren't the only ones getting caught out by Britain First]3

More: [What you need to know about Ukip's second by-election win]4