After the controversy over a UKIP-supporting foster couple, the party was hoping for a breakthrough in Rotherham.
It failed to materialise with Labour romping home here, in Middlesborough and in Croydon North.
But UKIP did do well enough in Denis MacShane's former constituency to give the Tories - who came 5th - and the Lib Dems, who lost their deposit - a fright.
The party, which wants Britain to quit the EU and to reduce immigration, doubled its vote, giving it a 21 percent share in Rotherham.
UKIP's leader Nigel Farrage claims his party is taking over from the Tories in the North.
But by-elections rarely produce good news for Governments and it's hard to see UKIP getting such a high percentage of the vote when the whole country goes to the polls.