Watch: Rochester and Strood by-election fight gets dirty - from Tory attack ads to Ukip's NHS fightback

Guy Bentley
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Nigel Farage was on hand to support his candidate (Source: Getty)

As voters in Rochester and Strood finally head to the polls to decide the fate of Ukip defector Mark Reckless, the local electorate will soon be spared the endless stream of leaflets and political door knockers.

If the polls are right, Reckless is on course for a comfortable win, and the Tories are in for another humiliating defeat at the hands of Ukip. For weeks, the constituency has been flooded with activists, ministers, MPs, MEPs and all kinds of other political acronyms.

But perhaps one of the more amusing spectacles of the campaign has been politicos' attempts to replicate US-style attack ads. The Tories have clearly taken the defection to heart, with David Cameron vowing to kick Reckless's "fat arse" out of Parliament.

The Tories pulled no punches in their attempts to sway the voters away from the allegedly duplicitous Mark Reckless:

Targeting what they perceive as one of Ukip's weak spots, the Tories also released this ad claiming Nigel Farage is hell-bent on privatising the NHS:

The NHS has also been a key line of attack for Labour MPs hoping to halt Ukip's advance in their northern strongholds - but Ukip wasn't going to take this lying down, producing its own video pointing out that some Labour lords supported charges to see a GP:

Election law in Britain doesn't allow political parties to buy airtime to show their own ads, but they can release their ads online. Judging by the abysmally low views, with the Tory attack ads clocking under 5,000 views combined and Ukip's NHS video doing better at over 13,000, it is probably fair to say these videos will have little impact on today's by-election.

When compared to US ads like the one below, the UK's political parties still have a long way to go if they want to hammer their opponents online:

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