British political history was made in a seaside town in Essex early this morning when Douglas Carswell was returned as UKIP's first elected Member of Parliament.
It was the biggest-ever increase in a by-election vote, with Douglas winning a massive 60%. UKIP did not contest the seat in the last election.
Douglas beat Conservative Giles Watling, who took just 25% in what was previously a safe Tory seat, with a majority of 12,404.
The clear result, on a high by-election turnout of around 51%, left those Tory and Labour politicians who have spent recent years repeatedly claiming that UKIP could not be taken seriously as it had no Westminster representation, busily reassessing the political landscape.
Douglas, who resigned from the Conservative Party at the end of August to join UKIP and immediately triggered a by-election, has been vindicated in his determination to put his decision before those who elected him in the last general election recording a giant by-election swing of 44%.
His share of the vote actually rose from the 53% he won in the 2010 General Election to 60% in this poll.
UKIP Douglas Carswell 21,113 (60%)
Conservative Giles Watling 8,709 (25%)
Labour Tim Young 3,957 (11%)
Lib Dems Andrew Graham 483 (1%)
Green Chris Southall 688 (2%)
Monster Raving Loony Alan Howlin "Laud" Hope 127 (0.03%)
Independent Charlotte Rose 56 (0.02%)
Independent Bruce Sizer 205 (0.6%)
Turnout: 35,386, 51.2%
MEANWHILE UKIP's John Bickley has returned a huge by-election result for the party in Heywood and Middleton to come second behind Labour by just 617 votes.
John's amazing 39% was built on just 3% of the vote the party won in the 2010 General Election, an increase of 36% and was firm evidence that UKIP has made tremendous inroads into Labour heartland with its message of standing up for ordinary working people.
The Labour hierarchy was rocked by UKIP's performance and and the narrow margin of victory, which say them just 2% ahead with 41% of the 28,515 of total votes cast.
The Conservatives were thrashed into third place with just 12%, dropping 15%, while the Lib Dems scraped through to save their deposit with a paltry 5%, down 18% on 2010.
Heywood and Middleton Results
Labour Liz McInnes, 11,633 (41%)
UKIP John Bickley, 11,016 (39%)
Conservatives Ian Gartside, 3,496 (12%)
Lib Dems Anthony Smith, 1,457 (5%)
Green Abi Jackson, 870 (3%)
Turnout: 28,515, 36%