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Poll: Can UKIP now be considered a serious political force?

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As Nigel Farage hails a "remarkable" performance by the UK Independence Party in local council elections, can the party now be considered a serious political force?

With many votes yet to be counted, Ukip gained 42 county council seats in England and also claimed second place behind Labour's Emma Lewell-Buck in the South Shields parliamentary by-election, while the two coalition parties suffered a drubbing.

Ukip became the second largest party in Lincolnshire, winning 16 seats and depriving Conservatives of overall control. The Tories also lost control of Gloucestershire.

And Ukip - which won no councillors at all when the seats were last contested in 2009 - picked up 10 in Hampshire, nine in Essex, three in Gloucestershire, three in Somerset and one in Dorset.

Can the party now be considered a serious political force? Have your say in our poll below and in the comments section.

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