Yorkshire First leader Richard Carter has told voters his party will “fight on” after contesting the European Parliament elections last Thursday.
The centrist party, which campaigns for a devolved Yorkshire parliament, received 19,017 votes in Yorkshire and the Humber – around 1.5% of the total. It was the first election contested by the newly-established party.
Lead candidate Stewart Arnold, a former member of the Liberal Democrats, said it was “a hugely significant result”, adding: “The debate on devolving more powers to Yorkshire doesn’t go away and neither will Yorkshire First.”
Carter said those 19,000 votes had “breathed life into Yorkshire First”.
He said voting for his party was “a positive choice” and that Yorkshire First “offered a message of hope and engagement in the EU, joining with other parties that sought to encourage powers to be pushed down to regions”.
And he slammed “an unprecedented media love-in with Ukip, where they gained wall to wall coverage in newspapers and the broadcasters”.
Earlier this month, Carter hit out at BBC rules preventing the party from airing an election broadcast, saying they “exclude regional parties from the debate”.
Ukip topped the poll in Yorkshire and the Humber with 31.1% of the popular vote, which Carter suggested was drawn “almost exclusively” from former Conservative and BNP voters.
Ukip’s support in the region increased by 13.7% on their 2009 result, while the combined vote share of the Conservatives and the BNP fell by 13.5%.
Carter said he believed the mainstream media had “unduly influenced the election by creating and stoking the Ukip fire”, and promised his party would “keep a close eye” on Ukip’s three Yorkshire MEPs to “to make sure they are putting the interests of Yorkshire first”.
But he also said: “We have undoubtedly touched a raw nerve in the very short time we have been set up and we feel we have the support to carry on beyond these elections. We have come a long way in the few weeks the party has been set up and we expect to see even greater progress in the coming weeks and months.”
He promised the regionalist party “will build on this result and come back even stronger”.