Conservative MPs have warned the Ukip surge is a result of a visceral hatred of the ruling elite and that the "fruitcake" name calling must stop.

As local elections results filtered in through the early hours of Friday morning, it became clear that Ukip had made significant gains across England - including securing second place ahead of the Tories in the South Shields by-election.

Farage had predicted his party would cause an earthquake in British politics and the tremors are mostly being felt on the Tory benches. Conservative MPs worry a substantial Ukip vote at the next general election could doom the Conservative Party to defeat by splitting the right-wing vote and letting Labour through the middle.

Michael Fabricant, the vice-chairman of the Tory party, said "life cannot go on as normal for all three main parties" in the wake of the result.

"I hope there will be some serious research about exactly what message UKIP voters are giving: none-of-the-above or specific issues," he said, adding: "But if nothing else, let us now be polite to Ukip and their supporters."

In the run-up to the elections, Ukip candidates came under intense scrutiny and faced a barrage of criticism. Last weekend Tory cabinet minister Ken Clarke described the party as "clowns" and David Cameron once famously dismissed Ukip as "fruitcakes" although he has recently tried to row back from that criticism.

Farage has said his party was "abused by everybody" and writing on The Huffington Post UK he said his candidates had been subject to "false allegations and downright intimidation".

Clacton MP Douglas Carswell said on Friday that "attacking Ukip as clowns" or simply "sneering" at its candidates and policies "will not do".

"Ukip is a reaction to the lack of authenticity amongst the smug, politics-as-usual elite who rule Westminster," he wrote on his blog.

"For too many people, both Labour and the Conservatives seem to be two sides of the same debased political currency. Both parties seem to be run as Westminster-based operations, with a handful of local franchises."

Lord Ashcroft, a former deputy chairman of the Conservative Party also took aim at the insults directed towards Ukip. "Congratulations to the "clowns" and "fruitcakes"!!! That worked!!" he Tweeted sarcastically.


Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman said the local election results were a product of the "deep, inchoate sense of betrayal" felt by voters and that Farage's message was "chiming with decent mainstream Conservatives".

"In politics, banking, the media, and seemingly across the board of modern Britain, the elites at the top have been spending too much time enjoying each other's company, at the expense of looking after those at the bottom of the pyramid that put them there," he said.

Writing on Conservative Home he added: "The British people are developing a deep, visceral but quiet anger at what is coming to be seen as the betrayal of ordinary people - and the values they expect and aspire to be governed through - by increasingly unaccountable elites."

Totnes Tory MP Sarah Wollaston, said voters were unimpressed with David Cameron appearing to stack his inner-circle with privileged Old Etonians that were out of touch with the average voter.

"To actually appoint very many people from his own background at such a sensitive stage I think is unfortunate," she said. "We've got to address the issue of patronage because it's undermining the confidence that people have in politics and politicians."

The view that Ukip was now a significant player in British politics was echoed by Lib Dem home office minister Jeremy Browne. He told the BBC the UK was now a "four party political system" and suspected people were voting Ukip to rail against the establishment. "There is unease about how politics is done in this country," he said.

However the notion that Farage was an anti-establishment icon was dismissed. Labour MP Jamie Reed said "the notion that Nigel Farage isn't from, of and for the establishment is risible".

Also on HuffPost:

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  • Local council elections

    Labour Party Leader Ed Miliband speaks to the media in Hastings town centre, East Sussex, following yesterdays local council elections.

  • Local council elections

    UKIP leader Nigel Farage arrives in Westminster after a successful night in the local council elections last night.

  • Local council elections

    UKIP leader Nigel Farage arrives in Westminster after a successful night in the local council elections last night.

  • Local council elections

    UKIP leader Nigel Farage arrives in Westminster after a successful night in the local council elections last night.

  • United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage arrives in Westminster, London, Friday May 3, 2013, after a successful night in the local council elections. David Cameron’s Conservative Party has taken a drubbing in local elections amid a surge of support for right-wing UKIP, an anti-European Union and anti-immigration party. The rise of UKIP adds to pressure on Cameron to staunch a flow of voters from his party ahead of the next general election in 2015 and take a harder line on European reform. (AP Photo/PA, Stefan Rousseau) UNITED KINGDOM OUT NO SALES NO ARCHIVE

  • Local council elections

    UKIP leader Nigel Farage makes his way to the Marquis of Granby pub in Westminster, London, after a successful night in the local council elections last night.

  • United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage arrives in Westminster, London, Friday May 3, 2013, after a successful night in the local council elections. David Cameron’s Conservative Party has taken a drubbing in local elections amid a surge of support for right-wing UKIP, an anti-European Union and anti-immigration party. The rise of UKIP adds to pressure on Cameron to staunch a flow of voters from his party ahead of the next general election in 2015 and take a harder line on European reform. (AP Photo/PA, Stefan Rousseau) UNITED KINGDOM OUT NO SALES NO ARCHIVE

  • Local council elections

    UKIP leader Nigel Farage drinks a pint in the Marquis of Granby pub in Westminster, London, after a successful night in the local council elections last night.

  • United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage arrives in Westminster, London, Friday May 3, 2013, after a successful night in the local council elections. David Cameron’s Conservative Party has taken a drubbing in local elections amid a surge of support for right-wing UKIP, an anti-European Union and anti-immigration party. The rise of UKIP adds to pressure on Cameron to staunch a flow of voters from his party ahead of the next general election in 2015 and take a harder line on European reform. (AP Photo/PA, Stefan Rousseau) UNITED KINGDOM OUT NO SALES NO ARCHIVE

  • Local council elections

    UKIP leader Nigel Farage makes his way to the Marquis of Granby pub in Westminster, London, after a successful night in the local council elections last night.

  • Local council elections

    UKIP leader Nigel Farage drinks a pint in the Marquis of Granby pub in Westminster, London, after a successful night in the local council elections last night.

  • Local council elections

    UKIP leader Nigel Farage drinks a pint in the Marquis of Granby pub in Westminster, London, after a successful night in the local council elections last night.

  • Local council elections

    Labour Party Leader Ed Miliband takes questions from members of the public in Hastings town centre, East Sussex, following yesterdays local council elections.

  • Local council elections

    Labour Party Leader Ed Miliband talks to members of the public in Hastings town centre, East Sussex, following yesterdays local council elections.

  • Local council elections

    Labour Party Leader Ed Miliband (centre) talks to members of the public in Hastings town centre, East Sussex, following yesterdays local council elections.

  • Local council elections

    Labour Party Leader Ed Miliband talks to members of the public in Hastings town centre, East Sussex, following yesterdays local council elections.

  • Local council elections

    Labour Party Leader Ed Miliband talks to members of the public in Hastings town centre, East Sussex, following yesterdays local council elections.

  • Local council elections

    Labour Party Leader Ed Miliband with Hastings Prospective Parliamentry Candidate Sarah Owen talks to members of the public in Hastings town centre, East Sussex, following yesterdays local council elections.

  • Local council elections

    Labour Party Leader Ed Miliband talks to members of the public in Hastings town centre, East Sussex, following yesterdays local council elections.

  • Local council elections

    Labour Party Leader Ed Miliband talks to members of the public in Hastings town centre, East Sussex, following yesterdays local council elections.

  • Local council elections

    Labour Party Leader Ed Miliband takes questions from members of the public in Hastings town centre, East Sussex, following yesterdays local council elections.

  • Local council elections

    Labour Party Leader Ed Miliband talks to members of the public in Hastings town centre, East Sussex, following yesterdays local council elections.

  • Local council elections

    Labour Party Leader Ed Miliband talks to members of the public in Hastings town centre, East Sussex, following yesterdays local council elections.

  • Labour Party Leader Ed Miliband takes questions from members of the public in Hastings town centre, East Sussex, following yeste...

    Labour Party Leader Ed Miliband takes questions from members of the public in Hastings town centre, East Sussex, following yesterdays local council elections. Picture date: Friday May 3, 2013. See PA story POLITICS Photo credit should read: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

  • Local council elections

    Labour Party Leader Ed Miliband meets members of the public in Hastings town centre, East Sussex, following yesterdays local council elections.

  • Local council elections

    Labour Party Leader Ed Miliband meets members of the public in Hastings town centre, East Sussex, following yesterdays local council elections.

  • Local council elections

    Labour Party Leader Ed Miliband talks to members of the public in Hastings town centre, East Sussex, following yesterdays local council elections.

  • Local council elections

    Labour Party Leader Ed Miliband talks to members of the public in Hastings town centre, East Sussex, following yesterdays local council elections.

  • Local council elections

    UKIP candidate Kerry Smith (second right), who won the Basildon Westley Heights ward, at the Towngate Theatre in Basildon, during the local elections count and declarations for the Basildon and Wickford districts, in Essex.

  • Local council elections

    UKIP candidates who gained three wards in the Basildon and Wickford districts local elections (left to right) Mark Ellis, Laindon Park and Fryerns, Kerry Smith, Basildon Westley Heights and Nigel Le Gresley, Wickford Crouch ward, celebrate at the Towngate Theatre in Basildon, Essex, following the count and declarations.

  • Local council elections

    UKIP candidate Mark Ellis, who won the Laindon Park and Fryerns ward, at the Towngate Theatre in Basildon, Essex, during the local elections count and declarations for the Basildon and Wickford districts, in Essex.

  • Local council elections

    UKIP candidates who gained three wards in the Basildon and Wickford districts local elections (left to right) Mark Ellis, Laindon Park and Fryerns, Kerry Smith, Basildon Westley Heights and Nigel Le Gresley, Wickford Crouch ward, celebrate at the Towngate Theatre in Basildon, Essex, following the count and declarations.

  • Local council elections

    UKIP candidate Mark Ellis (centre), who won the Laindon Park and Fryerns ward, at the Towngate Theatre in Basildon, Essex, during the local elections count and declarations for the Basildon and Wickford districts, in Essex.

  • Local council elections

    UKIP candidate Mark Ellis (centre), who won the Laindon Park and Fryerns ward, at the Towngate Theatre in Basildon, Essex, during the local elections count and declarations for the Basildon and Wickford districts, in Essex.

  • Local council elections

    UKIP candidate Nigel Le Gresley, who won the Wickford Crouch ward, at the Towngate Theatre in Basildon, Essex, during the local elections count and declarations for the Basildon and Wickford districts, in Essex.

  • Local council elections

    UKIP candidate Nigel Le Gresley (left), who won the Wickford Crouch ward, at the Towngate Theatre in Basildon, Essex, during the local elections count and declarations for the Basildon and Wickford districts, in Essex.

  • Local council elections

    Victorious UKIP candidates pose for a picture (left to right) Alan Preest (Lydney and Elburton), Colin Guyton (Drybrook and Lydbrook) and Richard Leppington (Brean and Blakney) following the local elections count in Oaklands Snooker Club in Cinderford, Gloucestershire.

  • Local council elections

    Victorious UKIP candidates pose for a picture (left to right) Alan Preest (Lydney and Elburton), Colin Guyton (Drybrook and Lydbrook) and Richard Leppington (Brean and Blakney) following the local elections count in Oaklands Snooker Club in Cinderford, Gloucestershire.

  • Local council elections

    (left to right) Labour candidate Janet Royall, Baroness Royall of Blaisdon, Conservative candidate Will Windsor Clive, Green Party candidate David Humpheys and Independent candidate Philip Burford await the result in the Newent Division, at the local elections count in Oaklands Snooker Club in Cinderford, Gloucestershire.

  • Local council elections

    UKIP supporters celebrate after UKIP's Colin Guyton (second right) wins the Drybrook and Lydbrook seat, at the count in Oaklands Snooker Club in Cinderford, Gloucestershire.

  • Local council elections

    UKIP supporters celebrate as UKIP's Colin Guyton wins the Drybrook and Lydbrook seat, at the count in Oaklands Snooker Club in Cinderford, Gloucestershire.

  • Local council elections

    Candidates watch as votes are counted at Oaklands Snooker Club in Cinderford, Gloucestershire for the Gloucestershire districts.

  • Local council elections

    Janet Royall, Baroness Royall of Blaisdon, at the count at Oaklands Snooker Club in Cinderford, Gloucestershire, ahead of the local elections count.

  • Local council elections

    Janet Royall (right), Baroness Royall of Blaisdon, watches the count at Oaklands Snooker Club in Cinderford, Gloucestershire, of the local elections for the Gloucestershire districts.

  • Local council elections

    Janet Royall, Baroness Royall of Blaisdon, jokes with friends at Oaklands Snooker Club in Cinderford, Gloucestershire, ahead of the local elections count for the Gloucestershire districts.

  • Local council elections

    A UKIP election agent watches the verification of ballot papers at Oaklands Snooker Club in Cinderford, Gloucestershire, for the local elections count for the Gloucestershire districts.

  • Local council elections

    Votes are counted at Oaklands Snooker Club in Cinderford, Gloucestershire for the Gloucestershire districts.

  • Local council elections

    Counting begins at Oaklands Snooker Club in Cinderford, Gloucestershire, for the local elections for the Gloucestershire districts.

  • Local council elections

    RETRANSMITTED CORRECTING TOPIC FROM POLL TO POLITICS Ballot boxes arrive at Oaklands Snooker Club in Cinderford, Gloucestershire, for the local elections count for the Gloucestershire districts. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday May 2, 2013. See PA story POLITICS Councils. Photo credit should read: Tim Ireland/PA Wire

  • Local council elections

    RETRANSMITTED CORRECTING TOPIC FROM POLL TO POLITICS Ballot boxes arrive at Oaklands Snooker Club in Cinderford, Gloucestershire, for the local elections count for the Gloucestershire districts. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday May 2, 2013. See PA story POLITICS Councils. Photo credit should read: Tim Ireland/PA Wire

  • Local council elections

    Ballot boxes arrive at Oaklands Snooker Club in Cinderford, Gloucestershire, for the local elections count for the Gloucestershire districts. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday May 2, 2013. See PA story POLL Councils. Photo credit should read: Tim Ireland/PA Wire