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Towards the Mainstream? UKIP and the 2009 Elections to the European Parliament

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Abstract

This article examines the performance of the UK Independence party (UKIP) at the 2009 European Parliament election, and asks whether the party's second-place finish indicates that it is now entering the political mainstream. It argues that while UKIP's success at these elections marks an important step in its development, the party continues to face significant barriers to further electoral progress. The article also considers the implications for the Conservative party under David Cameron, and cautions that UKIP's success could signal a more generalised shift towards the acceptance of the populist right in Britain. Finally, the article argues that the rise and recent success of UKIP is deserving of greater academic attention, and outlines possible research agendas to take this work forward.

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