Paul Nuttall on UKIP local election wipeout: 'We're victims of our own success'

Paul Nuttall spoke after a tough night for UKIP at the polls

Paul Nuttall says UKIP have been victims of their recent success

Friday, May 5, 2017

UKIP leader Paul Nuttall has said the party has been "a victim of its own success" after a tough night in the local elections.

UKIP, without a single MP at Westminster following the defection of Douglas Carswell, has been left with just one council seat, leaving pundits wondering whether the party is finished.

The results are the latest in a string of disappointments for the party, which enjoyed huge success in last year's EU referendum but has struggled since.

In March Nuttall himself lost a by-election in Stoke, a city which has been labelled 'the Brexit capital of the UK.'

However the Liverpudlian politician, who took over as UKIP leader last year, has said there is a "bright future for the party" despite last night's setback.

He wrote on the UKIP website: "It's been a difficult night.

"In the local elections yesterday many excellent UKIP representatives lost their seats on county councils despite campaigning hard for re-election.

Frankly, there is nothing they could have done in the face of a big national swing to the Tories."

Nuttall also suggested May's dispute with the EU over last weekend's dinner with Jean-Claude Juncker has provided a PR gift for the Tories.

"Our electoral success over recent years was a key driver in forcing the Conservatives to embrace our cause under a new prime minister who was campaigning for a Remain vote in the referendum a year ago," Nuttall said.

"Mrs May's public dispute with the EU in recent days – which led to her speaking about standing up to Brussels in an eve-of-poll statement in Downing Street – was particularly fortuitously timed for the Conservatives.

"And county council seats that were in natural Tory territory have gone back to the Tories.

"If the price of Britain leaving the EU is a Tory advance after taking up this patriotic cause then it is a price UKIP is prepared to pay."