United Kingdom Independence Party Leader Nigel Farage has said that he believes that he is the only Party Leader who can win in the London Assembly, the Northern Irish Legislative Assembly, the Welsh Assembly, and the Scottish Parliament. UKIP’s choices of candidates in these legislative bodies has not been without criticism however; speaking to the BBC, Farage batted away criticism of his party’s choice of candidates, stating
“If that’s what party democracy comes up with, you can’t argue with it. It is what it is.”
When challenged on now suspended UKIP Member and MEP Suzanne Evans, he said “I don’t deal with discipline or party selection, and I never have done.” but also stated that he didn’t think she had behaved “terribly well”.
Farage’s claims are bold in light of the polls in Scotland, which show UKIP second to last, ahead of only the minor Scottish Socialist Party/RISE Party. The latest opinion poll calculations (shown below) suggest that UKIP will not win a single seat in Holyrood. It does, however, predict the Scottish National Party, Conservatives, Green Party, and Liberal Democrats all will win seats at the expense of the Labour Party, which will drop into third place behind Ruth Davidson’s Scottish Conservatives.
His optimism is far more likely in Stormont, the seat of the Northern Irish Legislative Assembly, however, where UKIP currently hold one Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) and are expected to pick up another. This trend continues into Wales, where UKIP are expected to gain seven seats from their current zero, mainly at the expense of the Liberal Democrats. In the London Assembly, UKIP are predicted to regain at least one more Assembly Member – in the past UKIP have had MAs, but have never had a hugely stable presence in the Capital – their 8.1% vote share there in contrast with their 12.7% share nationwide is a prime example of this.
It’s predicted that the proportional and semi-proportional voting systems used in these elections will allow UKIP to succeed, whereas the First Past the Post system used for the House of Commons makes it far more difficult for smaller parties to win seats.