A downbeat Nigel Farage has sharply ended a TV interview in South Thanet, amid rumours he will fail to win election to parliament from the Kent constituency.
He said: "My congratulations to the Daily Mail and The Sun they are geniuses. They understand politics beautiful they think the Ukip vote splits the Tory vote. God help us."
The Ukip leader has said he will quit if he fails to get election to the Commons. A Tory source said it was still too tight to call, while Labour's candidate Will Scobie was also reluctant to make predictions in the seat.
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According to the exit poll, Ukip is on course to win just two seats. The party's deputy leader, Paul Nuttall, said he believed the poll was wrong: "We are going to get more than two seats tonight," he told the BBC.
"We are going to do well in Kent we are going to do well in Essex. I do think your exit poll is wrong. I think Nigel Farage has won and i think he has won by a bigger margin that what people think."
Douglas Carswell, running to hold Clacton for Ukip, told Sky News Ukip had made an extraordinary leap forward, projecting three to four million votes for the party.
He said: "If it's the case Ukip gets four million votes and only a clutch of seats, that's more of a reflection on how dysfunctional our political system is rather than a reflection of Ukip's tactics."