The political map of West Norfolk has turned a distinct shade of purple after the UK Independence Party topped the European election poll.
The anti-EU party received almost as many votes in the borough as the Conservatives and Labour put together in the results announced last night.
And party leaders say the result shows they have a real chance of taking seats for the area at next year’s general election too.
In total, UKIP received 16,356 votes in West Norfolk, around 41.6 per cent of the votes cast.
That put them almost 5,000 votes clear of the Conservatives, with Labour in third place with just over 14 per cent of the vote.
And it was another very bad night for the Liberal Democrats, who finished in fifth place behind the Greens, and lost their seat.
Of the seven East of England MEPs elected, there are three UKIP representatives, three Conservatives and one for Labour.
Toby Coke, the UKIP group leader on Norfolk County Council, said the results showed that voters were seeing through the Conservative pledge of renegotiating Britain’s EU membership ahead of an in or out referendum in 2017.
He said: “We know it’s all tosh and people are beginning to see through it.”
“I think we’re in with a chance in many places, including West Norfolk which is traditionally Tory, but the feeling I get is we’re really in with a chance.”
But Brian Long, the Conservative deputy leader of West Norfolk Council, said that, while the established parties needed to understand why UKIP had done so well, he was not sure whether people will be so willing to “gamble” their votes in 12 months’ time.
As well as the general election, voters will choose new borough councillors next May.
And Mr Long said: “I think people will say we did vote UKIP in the European elections but it’s about our tax and our local services and hopefully they’ll feel they get good value from the borough council and can see we’re putting the economy back on track.”
Turnout in West Norfolk was 35 per cent, slightly below the 2009 figure of 36.9 per cent.
However, that poll coincided with a Norfolk County Council election.
Full West Norfolk results: UKIP 16,356 votes (41.6%), Conservatives 11,485 (29.2%), Labour 5,562 (14.2%), Green Party 2,902 (7.4%), Liberal Democrats 1,252 (3.2%), An Independence from Europe 665 (1.7%), English Democrats 424 (1.1%), British National Party 322 (0.8%), Christian Peoples Alliance 198 (0.5%), No2EU 118 (0.3%). Rejected papers: 99. Turnout 35%.
Breckland results: UKIP 14,393 votes (42.2%), Conservatives 9,859 (28.9%), Labour 4,420 (13%), Green Party 2,741 (8%), Liberal Democrats 1,211 (3.6%), An Independence from Europe 525 (1.5%), Christian Peoples Alliance 327 (1%), English Democrats 285 (0.8%), British National Party 238 (0.7%), No2EU 98 (0.3%). Rejected papers: 99. Turnout 36.1%.
North Norfolk results: UKIP 12,260 votes (37.7%), Conservatives 8,423 (26%), Liberal Democrats 4,432 (13.6%), Labour 3552 (10.9%), Green Party 2,829 (8.7%), An Independence from Europe 378 (1.2%), English Democrats 264 (0.8%), British National Party 183 (0.6%), Christian Peoples Alliance 148 (0.5%), No2EU 61 (0.2%).