10 things to know about the United Kingdom Independence Party or UKIP

UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage looking through a window of the UKIP office in Clacton-on-Sea, in eastern England, on Oct 10, 2014. The UKIP claimed its second seat in Parliament on Friday, with Mr Mark Reckless beating the Conservat
UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage looking through a window of the UKIP office in Clacton-on-Sea, in eastern England, on Oct 10, 2014. The UKIP claimed its second seat in Parliament on Friday, with Mr Mark Reckless beating the Conservative candidate on a margin of just under 3,000 votes at the by-election in his ward Rochester and Strood. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

THE radical United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) is making waves in Britain's political scene by galvanising angry voters disillusioned with the policies of the traditional parties, which are seen as out of touch with the people.

Its growing influence has rattled the government and could signal a sea change in British politics.

Here are 10 things to know about the UKIP:

1. It was founded in 1991 as the Anti-Federalist League and was renamed the UKIP two years later. It is currently led by Mr Nigel Farage. His deputy is Mr Paul Nuttall.

2. Its support comes mainly from older, white, working-class voters.

3. Its key policies are imposing quotas on immigration and pulling out from the European Union, issues that are at the heart of its core support base. Many of its supporters complain that immigrants are taking jobs away from them.

4. The party also wants to increase defence spending, partially reverse the bans on smoking and hunting, as well as abolish inheritance tax.

5. So far, two Conservative Party lawmakers Douglas Carswell and Mark Reckless have defected to the UKIP, triggering by-elections in their wards.

6. The UKIP won its first-ever elected seat in Parliament in October when Mr Carswell was elected to his ward, Clacton-on-Sea, in the by-election with 60 per cent of the vote - a higher margin than he achieved when he won as a Tory in the 2010 polls.

7. The UKIP claimed its second seat in Parliament on Friday, with Mr Reckless beating the Conservative candidate on a margin of just under 3,000 votes at the by-election in his ward Rochester and Strood.

8. The party came within 617 votes of knocking out the Labour Party in another by-election last month in the ward of Heywood and Middleton, called due to the death of the incumbent Labour MP.

9. The UKIP is tipped to win a large share of the vote in next year's European elections.

10. Former British prime minister John Major has called the UKIP the "anti-everything" party. He said it was a "thoroughly negative body" that deserves to go back to the political wilderness. "UKIP are anti everything: they are anti-foreigner, they are anti-Europe, they're anti-establishment, they're anti-politics - I haven't found out what they are for but by goodness we know what they are against," he added.

Sources: Reuters, Agence France-Presse, The Independent