Ukip surge 'a permanent protest', Nigel Farage says

Nigel Farage said Ukip's gains in the local elections "look like a fairly permanent protest" as he arrived to cheers in Thurrock this afternoon.

Mr Farage added it was difficult to predict whether his party's surge would be more harmful to Labour or the Conservatives, as many who voted Ukip "probably hadn't voted for anybody for 20 years."

Read: Ukip gains in local elections at expense of Tories and Labour

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Voters still choose Labour despite 'unpopular' Miliband

A poll by former Conservative party deputy chairman Lord Ashcroft has found Labour could win "a comfortable majority" in the 2015 general election.