Not entirely unexpectedly my former colleague and now friend in another party Mark Reckless held on to his seat in Rochester and Strood. It would be churlish not to congratulate him and indeed UKIP on their success. I understand they become only the 4th Party since World War 2 to win two by-elections in the same Parliament so quite an achievement.
So what does it mean? It will undoubtedly cheer up UKIP members to have gone from zero to two MP’s in a short period of time but I would caution against too much euphoria. Their success will mean UKIP policies will come under greater scrutiny than they The margin of victory in Rochester was rather less than the polls had suggested and the bookies now have the Conservatives odds on to regain the seat in May next year.
As for the conservatives my view is that our task remains essentially unchanged we must continue to make the case for a strong and secure economy. The only way to having strong public services is to have a strong and growing economy. The economy is moving in the right direction but there is still much more to do. The next election will be about giving the British people a choice: do they want to go back to the Party of more spending, more borrowing and higher taxes or do they want to stick to the Party that is putting Britain back on the road to recovery. In short do they want David Cameron to be Prime Minister or Ed Miliband?
Oh and just in case anyone is wondering can I just mention again I have absolutely no intention whatsoever of leaving the Conservative Party and joining another Party Red, Green, Yellow or …Purple. ( I don’t expect it will stop the media speculation but hey they have got a job to do!)