UKIP has its second elected MP at Westminster after Mark Reckless won the Rochester and Strood by-election.
Mr Reckless took 16,867 votes, 2,920 more than Conservative Kelly Tolhurst’s 13,947, with Labour’s Naushabah Khan on 6,713 – ahead of the Green Party reported BBC.
The Lib Dems came fifth with their lowest vote total in a by-election.
Mr Reckless, whose defection from the Tories to UKIP triggered the contest in Kent, said: “If UKIP can win here, we can win across the country.”
In his acceptance speech, Mr Reckless said Rochester and Strood had been UKIP’s 271st most winnable seat.
In a message to his constituents, he said: “You remain my boss, do not let me forget it.”
Conservative Party Chairman Grant Shapps said he was disappointed with the result but said there were “different circumstances” in a by-election.
“We will fight every single day to win this seat back,” he added.
And Conservative Leader of the House of Commons, William Hague, said that if Nigel Farage’s party continued to take votes from the Tories, there was a danger of “letting Ed Miliband sneak into Downing Street by the back door”.
UKIP leader Nigel Farage denied that the result was simply a by-election protest vote against the government, or that voters would return to the larger parties in the general election.
He said the message of Rochester and Strood was: “If you vote UKIP, you get UKIP.”
And he said “people out there who vote UKIP intend to stay UKIP”.
Asked on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme if the campaign in Rochester had nonetheless “exposed” UKIP policy on immigration and the NHS, Mr Farage said his party would “never, ever wish to get rid of people who have legally came to Britain”.
He also voiced his support for an NHS free at the point of delivery, following controversy last week about previous comments he had made relating to switching to a private-insurance model.