A lack of trust and public anger are the reasons behind the lowest electoral turnout since the Second World War, according to Manchester’s UKIP candidate.
Public confusion over the by-election and Police and Crime Commissioner elections has been blamed for the derisory turnout but the non-mainstream parties have cited a deeper discontent with politicians as the true reasoning.
Speaking to MM UKIP’s Chris Cassidy claimed expenses scandals, and broken pledges are the key reasons for the public’s disillusionment with the political process.
He said: “For many years now, people have been angry at the old three parties due to the various scandals that have plagued the commons.
“People no longer trust anything that politicians say and I don’t blame them. Locally, people seemed angry at the fact Labour selected a careerist as a candidate.”
A miserly 18.6% of voters took to the polls, handing Lucy Powell a majority of nearly 10,000 from Lib Dem candidate Marc Ramsbottom.
Mr Cassidy said: “The low turnout makes a mockery of the entire democratic process but Lucy did win fair and square.
“The Electoral Services Unit in Manchester does a great job in making sure people are on the electoral roll and are informed.
“But it’s going to take a real change in the way elected politicians treat the public before people feel that their vote can start to make a difference.”
UKIP saw their share of the vote increase by 3%, falling short of overtaking the Conservatives as the third party in the city by just five votes.
Mr Cassidy was happy with his performance in the election, however still felt slightly disappointed that they couldn’t topple the Conservatives from third.
“I’m extremely happy with our result, Manchester Central is historically our weakest area in terms of campaigning and votes received,” he said, “We knew we had to run a smart campaign on a shoestring budget.
“I’m a little bit gutted to be so close to third, getting the extra votes to overtake the Conservatives would have been very symbolic and an extra reason for us to be happy.
“The Conservatives have been seen as toxic in Manchester for decades, but since 2010 they have really taken a kicking at elections.
UKIP’s have been encouraged by their performance, giving them a springboard to offer an alternative in what has traditionally been a Labour stronghold.
He added: “I think UKIP has a bright future in Manchester. Unlike the Lib Dems and Tories, UKIP don’t have a toxic brand in Manchester and our wide support base makes us the perfect vehicle to challenge Labour.
“The result last night in Manchester Central lays strong foundations for UKIP to take second place in 2015 with a good campaign and be the true opposition to Labour.”