But Ukip’s Jane Collins took 4,648 votes, nearly 22 per cent of those cast, with the Conservatives beaten into fifth place behind the British National Party and Respect, and the Liberal Democrats eighth.
Yes, yes, I know, byelection, fostering row.
But in three byelections on the same day in safe Labour seats UKIP came second, second and third.
Much is made of the way the party (“us” if you like) threatens Tories. And it does in marginal seats in the south. But there’s a good argument that the first actual seats (and I do think they will come) are likely to come at Labour’s expense in the old industrial heartlands.
It’s actually quite interesting from inside the party. From the outside we’re derided as too extreme even for the Tories. While from the inside there’s a lot of Old Labour, that very conservative English working class thing.