UKIP surged on in the latest council by-elections, storming a previously rock-solid Labour stronghold at Rawmarsh in Rotherham, South Yorkshire.
However Labour managed to snatch some compensation by taking a Tory seat at Weymouth and Portland Borough, Dorset.
There was also some cheer for Conservatives in Somerset when they won a county council contest delayed from May 2 by a candidate’s death. This boosted their knife-edge lead on the authority to three seats.
Commenting on the Rotherham Borough result, Ukip leader Nigel Farage said: “We are now hitting Labour where it hurts as we always said we would.
“For a long time Miliband and his party have enjoyed sitting back and watching Ukip attack Tory strongholds but they have been far too vain to fully comprehend that Labour voters are naturally moving in our direction too.
“Our policies really talk to men and women in Labour heartlands who are now seeing the party taking their support for granted due to the sort of majorities they were able to build up in the Blair years.”
At Rawmarsh, Caven Vines brought Ukip from nowhere last time to a majority of 104.
The by-election in the ward, which comes under Wentworth and Dearne, follows November’s contest in the nearby Rotherham parliamentary constituency which saw Ukip take a good second place.
At Weymouth, Labour’s Stewart Pearson gained at Melcombe Regis bringing the party up from bottom of the poll last year to top.
This follows its sweeping victory in the area in the county elections.
Melcombe Regis has effectively merged with Weymouth after being a separate port in medieval times, through which the Black Death entered England in the summer of 1348.
The plague went on to ravage the land in the next two years, carrying off between a third and a half of the population.
In Somerset, Tory Marcus Fysh triumphed at Coker. It is unclear if this is a gain because of boundary changes. Liberal Democrats won the previous division in 2009 by 89 votes.
Rotherham Borough - Rawmarsh: Ukip 1143, Lab 1039, C 107, BNP 80, Trade Unionists and Socialists Against Cuts 61, Liberal Democrats 28. (May 2012 - Lab 1685, BNP 531, C 328). Ukip gain from Lab.
Somerset County - Coker: C 1303, Lib Dem 1079, Ukip 702, Lab 195, Green 165 . (Boundary changes). C win.
Weymouth and Portland Borough - Melcombe Regis: Lab 279, C 258, Ind 204, Lib Dem 170, Green 143. (May 2012 - C 431, Lib Dem 375, Green 243, Lab 239). Lab gain from C. Swing 8.4% C to Lab.