UKIP's candidate Richard Elvin says coming second is "a message to all three mainstream parties that UKIP is the official opposition".
Speaking after the results, he said: "It's an absolutely fantastic result for UKIP. To come from nowhere to take 25 per cent at its first attempt is absolutely stunning.
"It's a message to all three mainstream parties that Ukip is the official opposition.
"We have proved that in Labour strongholds and we have done it again in South Shields."