YEP Says, May 24: Labour consolidate, but Ukip now a force to be reckoned with

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Mainstream politicians write party off at their peril.

AS expected, the local elections saw Labour consolidate their position in Leeds – but the growing appeal of Ukip can no longer be ignored.

While the party didn’t enjoy any breakthroughs in the city, they still proved that they command significant support.

Finishing runners-up in a number of wards and running the major parties close for second place in many others was a decent showing – but elsewhere they performed even better. Two seats were secured in Wakefield, while in Rotherham they won 10, ousting several prominent Labour councillors, including the deputy leader of the council.

Taken as a whole, the party’s performance around the country is a wake-up call to the major parties, who dismiss their growing support as a “protest vote” at their peril.

And it’s not just about Europe or immigration. Nigel Farage’s party are tapping into a widespread disillusionment with mainstream politics, posing a threat that the likes of Labour and the Conservatives must now take seriously.

They have shown that by talking the language of the man and woman in the street it is possible to engage people in politics.

It remains to be seen if they can translate this into seats at the general election, but there is no doubt they are now a force to be reckoned with.

Festival serves up a slice of foodie heaven

LEEDS has a dining and bar scene that is the envy of other cities around the country – and what better way to celebrate it than with the annual Leeds Food and Drink Festival?

Now in its eighth year, the fortnight-long event, which got under way yesterday, showcases the best food and drink the city has to offer.

This year it aims to become the biggest and best urban food festival in the country – and the array of goodies on offer give it every chance of pulling it off.

And the great thing is that knowing we’re supporting local businesses and producers gives us a great excuse to indulge ourselves.

PIC: Simon Hulme

YEP Says: We need answers to Leeds culture verdict