Tiny UK Independence Party cost Conservatives at least 10 seats in close General Election
The tiny UK Independence Party helped deprive the Conservatives of at least ten seats by fielding candidates in constituencies the Tories had a good chance of winning.
Nationally, UKIP picked up just 3 per cent of the vote. But in a string of seats their support was enough to stop even Eurosceptic Tory candidates winning.
In the most glaring example, the anti-EU party helped oust the fiercely Eurosceptic David Heathcoat-Amory in Wells, Somerset.
UKIP picked up 1,711 votes as the Tory MP lost to the Liberal Democrats by 800.
UKIP also helped to prop up a number of Labour ministers, including Schools Secretary Ed Balls, Communities Secretary John Denham, immigration minister Phil Woolas and local government minister Ian Austin.
In each case the ministers would have lost their seats if the bulk of UKIP's support had gone to the Conservative candidate.
Mr Austin, a close ally of Gordon Brown, held Dudley North with a majority of just 649 over the Conservatives, while UKIP picked up 3,267 votes. . . .
To put it differently, 16,000 votes stood between the Conservatives and a majority.
DAVID CAMERON was deprived of a Commons majority by failing to secure the votes of just 16,000 people, according to an expert analysis of election results.
The findings by Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher reveal that the Tories came tantalisingly close to securing a clean victory at the polls.
“Cameron came so near and yet so far,” write the directors of the elections centre at Plymouth University. “Just 16,000 extra votes for the Tories, distributed in the 19 constituencies in which the party came closest to winning, would have spared us a weekend of negotiation and speculation.” . . . .