Ukip's surge shows the Tories have created a monster they can't control

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By Tom Bradby: Political Editor

Ukip's swell of support saw them finish first in the European elections.
Ukip's swell of support saw them finish first in the European elections. Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Sometimes in politics, it is all too easy to miss the story.

In all the talk of the Lib Dems being wiped out, of Ukip surging, of Ed Miliband being "weird" (don't most people think all politicians are weird?) and not doing as well as he should, we are in danger of missing the point.

That point is that this result is the culmination of a trend that has been underway for a very long time. A trend which has accelerated under David Cameron' s leadership; a split in the Tory family.

The Tory right has never liked David Cameron. They hated his husky-loving and hug-a-hoody speeches.

They were disdainful of the Big Society and horrified by gay marriage. Many of them would very much like to leave the European Union. They have covertly and sometimes overtly encouraged Ukip, often supported by allies in the Tory press.

It is now clear that they have created a monster they can't control. Ukip has caught on. It is riding a wave. And that wave looks very much like carrying Ed Miliband into Downing Street.

David Cameron has long been unpopular in parts of the party.
David Cameron has long been unpopular in parts of the party. Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Read: Farage's 'dream has become a reality' after Euro poll win

Lord Ashcroft's polls always make interesting reading, but the latest two - on why people voted Ukip in the Euros and a detailed survey of marginal seats - ought to have all Tories choking on their cornflakes. The majority of Ukip Euro voters, it turns out, are former 2010 General Election Tories. Some may well come back for 2015, but in the current climate you'd be brave indeed to bet on all of them returning.

But more significantly, the marginal poll shows very clearly that Labour is a long way ahead in all the seats that count.

Yes, Ed Miliband is behind on who would be the best Prime Minister as well as on the economy. And yes, no opposition leader has ever won from that position.

But make no mistake about it; the Tories have a mountain to climb. And it is entirely of their own making.

Read: Ukip claim 23 MEPs as Lib Dems lose all but one