UKIP leapfrogged Labour into second place in the Sleaford & North Hykeham by-election last night taking 13.5% of the vote and reinforcing the Party as the Opposition in waiting as the Conservatives held the seat abandoned by its former MP.
A humiliated Labour Party were beaten into fourth place behind the Lib Dems.
UKIP leader Paul Nuttall, who accompanied candidate Victoria Ayling at the count, said it was a "great result" for the party following the turmoil of recent months.
He said: "If someone would have offered me second place at the beginning of the campaign, considering we were in the middle of a leadership election and the party resembled a bit of a shambles over the summer, I would have bitten their hand off.
"I think it's a really good way to get my leadership off the ground. This is a small step on a long road."
Here are the final results from the by-election:
|Dr Caroline Johnson||Conservatives||17,570||53.51%|
|Ross Pepper||Lib Dems||3,606||10.98%|
|Marianne Overton||Lincs Independents||2,892||8.81%|
|The Iconic Arty-Pole||Loony||200||0.61%|
|David Bishop||BP Elvis||55||0.17%|
|Conservative Majority 13,144 (40.03%)|
|0.24% swing C to UKIP|
|Electorate 88,712. Turnout 32,834 (37.01%)|