WALES’ traditional political parties will need to work together to keep the UK Independence Party (UKIP) from gaining any more ground, following a huge surge in right-wing votes at the recent European Elections.
Having grown in popularity both in Pembrokeshire and across Wales, UKIP has its sights set firmly on getting Britain out of the European Union (EU), which it believes is to blame for many of Britain’s problems.
The under-dog of the 2009 elections, in Pembrokeshire the party is now snapping at the heels of the Conservatives, who only just clung onto their local lead.
And across Wales, UKIP has moved from fourth place to second in the polls, just behind front-runners Labour.
But, despite UKIP jumping up the league table, the four Member of the European Parliament (MEP) seats stay the same as in 2009, with Labour, Conservatives, Plaid Cymru and UKIP all representing Wales in Brussels.
Labour MEP Derek Vaughan said he was “delighted” with his party’s 28.15 per cent share of the vote.
He said his party had fought a good campaign, delivering ‘twice as many leaflets and knocking twice as many doors’.
But, with fewer than 5,000 votes separating Labour and UKIP across Wales, Mr Vaughan said the time had come to start taking the Eurosceptics seriously.
“UKIP got more votes than we expected, they have taken votes right across the board.
“I think all parties, including my own Labour part, need to learn from that and expose UKIP a bit more than we have done in the past.”
Jill Evans – who has represented Plaid Cymru in Europe since 1999 - said the media’s coverage of UKIP’s ‘negative’ campaign was one of the reasons it had been so successful.
She added that her party would work hard to ‘implement policies that will transform the Welsh economy’.
“We’ve got a vision and we’ve got plans, and we’ll keep working.”