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Clacton by-election: Are Ukip really here to stay?

There have been plenty of flash in the pan by-election successes. Whether Ukip transcends that fate depends on the Conservative party's fortunes

By Peter Kellner  

Douglas Carswell with his wife Clementine after winning the Clacton by-election. © Chris Radburn/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Ukip’s victory in Clacton is certainly dramatic; but have we been here before? During the Second World War, a new left-wing party called Common Wealth won three by-elections. It was crushed in the 1945 general election and disappeared as a political force soon after.

In 1973 Dick Taverne resigned as Labour MP for Lincoln, fought a by-election…

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