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Nigel Farage all smiles as he revels in Ukip's European election success

• theguardian.com

An hour later than he was expected, his aides and security men elbowing a path through a thicket of camera crews and photographers, Nigel Farage swept into Southampton Civic Centre like a rock star, a grin on his face that he wasn't taking much trouble to suppress.

How was his promised electoral earthquake going? "Pretty well I think, but we'll find out in a moment." His aides were predicting Ukip taking four or five of the 10 MEP seats up for grabs in South East England, did he agree? He wouldn't be making any predictions. Oh, OK then. "I still think we're going to win [the overall vote]. Now, where's the bar?"

Ukip had gone into Thursday's European poll with one representative – Farage – in the huge constituency which takes in nine counties and 8 million voters and stretches from the Cotswolds to Margate, and from the Isle of Wight to the southern suburbs of Milton Keynes.

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