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Election 2014: UKIP surges in council vote, Tweets ethnically diverse 'thank you' photo...

“The UKIP fox is in the Westminster hen house,” UKIP leader Nigel Farage said today, as the first results came through.

BRITAIN’S ANTI-EU and anti-immigration UK Independence Party surged in local council elections according to results announced today, at the expense of the three main parties — including Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservatives.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage said party would now be “serious players” in European parliament elections, which were held yesterday in the UK alongside the council polls in England and Northern Ireland, and in the May 2015 general election.

Despite his party having no seats in his national parliament, Farage has led UKIP from the margins to claim a major place in Britain’s national debate on its place in the European Union.

“The UKIP fox is in the Westminster hen house,” Farage said today as the first results came through.

The party, which has been criticised in the past for its lack of diversity, also Tweeted this inclusive-looking photo…

In results from 61 out of 161 councils in England this morning, UKIP had gained 89 council seats, having previously held just one, while the main opposition Labour party also did well, gaining 102 seats.

The Conservatives lost 97 seats, while the Liberal Democrats lost 99.

Turnout was a relatively weak 36 percent, according to initial estimates. UKIP is hoping to dramatically increase its tally of nine members of the European parliament when results are announced across the EU on Sunday night.

Source: John Giles

A defaced UKIP poster in Sheffield [PA]

In Northern Ireland, the verification of ballots is expected to be completed by around midday, the BBC reports.

The first council seats should be known by this evening.

Official results from the European election won’t be announced anywhere until 10pm (Irish time) on Sunday night.

The European Commission has banned member states from publishing results until the last polls close in Italy.

Exit polls should, however, give a clear indication of how things are going before the first official results are confirmed.

Includes reporting from AFP. 

Read: Pictures: Irish Defence Forces personnel vote in Election 2014 … from Mali

Read: Why are schools used as polling places?

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