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  1. ITV Report

Ukip will need to choose Westminster seats carefully

Ukip leader Nigel Farage is expected to stand in the 2015 general election. Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

By Prof Colin Rallings: ITV News Political Analyst

UKIP's successes in the local elections have raised the possibility of them winning a Westminster seat at the general election.

The party appears to have topped the poll in Rotherham, for example, and won about half the council seats in Basildon.

However, the truth is - and Nigel Farage knows this - that their support is not sufficiently concentrated for them to have many obvious chances of victory next year.

Instead, as the Greens did in Brighton before winning the Pavilion constituency in 2010, UKIP must - in Mr Farage's own words - "throw the kitchen sink" at a small number of carefully targeted constituencies.

Nigel Farage could learn from the strategy of Green Party MP Caroline Lucas.

They will be guided by where they did well last night, but there might not be a complete correspondence.

They are likely to target somewhere in the north to bolster claims of being a national party, but the east of England is a more obvious hunting ground.

They did well in Thanet (Kent) and Boston (Lincolnshire) at last year's county elections; are likely to score highly in Great Yarmouth when its results are announced later; and probably have the residual support of 12,000 people who voted for Castle Point's former Conservative turned Euro-sceptic Independent MP, Bob Spink, in 2010.

We'll know where they intend to concentrate their resources when Farage announces his own candidacy.

But only he and maybe one or two others can even dream of being elected to the 2015 Parliament. Which is not to say that, as last night, UKIP's performance across the country will not have a big influence on the overall outcome of that contest..

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