The UK Independence Party has finished second in the European elections, ahead of Labour, on an impressive night for the Eurosceptic party.
It performed strongly in the East of England, where it won two seats and its total vote went up, and also picked up seats in Yorkshire and London.
It gained 17.4% of the vote and increased its number of MEPs to 13, one more than it achieved in 2004.
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Its leader Nigel Farage said the result showed its 2004 outcome was “no fluke”.
And he claimed the party would have gained even more votes if it had been allowed to properly debate the European issue, rather than MPs expenses, which dominated the campaign.
Mr Farage said the result was a “coup de grace” for Gordon Brown, who had broken Labour’s promise to hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.