Nigel Farage has claimed his party will win double the number of seats predicted as UKIP makes significant gains across the country.
Early on Friday morning UKIP had already surpassed the 80 seats it had been expected to take, dealing a significant blow to the main parties and leading to claims the country was now in an era of four-party politics.
Labour lost its grip in the north and, in a serious blow, the party lost control of Thurrock, a key marginal for the General Election in 2015, to no overall control, losing two seats to UKIP.
Mr Farage said UKIP would now be “serious players” in the General Election and said the party was expecting to win double the 80 seats that had been predicted.
He said: “The UKIP fox is in the Westminster henhouse” and added: “The idea the UKIP vote just hurts the Tories is going to be blown away by this election.”
UKIP took seats from Labour in Hartlepool, won 10 seats in Rotherham and polled more than a third of the vote in wards in big cities, such as Sunderland, Birmingham and Hull, where it previously had little or no presence.
According to the latest Sky News projection, the results so far would give a hung parliament at the 2015 General Election.
As results came in from England’s local elections, showing gains for UKIP across the country, he said: “The UKIP fox is in the Westminster hen house.”
Despite its gains, the party does not yet control any local authorities.
Labour is also making gains with Tories and Lib Dems both losing councillors.