Paul Nuttall, the leader of Ukip, has insisted that voters will return to the party "in their droves" after Brexit negotiations begin.
Speaking for the first time since yesterday's local elections when the party lost more than 100 councillors, Nuttall told Sky News the Prime Minister will "buckle" during EU negotiations by later this year or early next year, causing disillusioned Leave-voters to desert the Tories.
"When people are angry, when people feel like they've been let down, when people feel like they're not getting the Brexit they wanted or they voted for on June the 23rd, where are they going to go? They're going to return to Ukip," Nuttall said.
Ukip claims first seat as Alan Hosker evicts Labour's Marcus Johnstone in Padiham and Burnley West with a 228 vote majority— Lancashire Post (@leponline) May 5, 2017
Nuttall said there was a "clear movement" of voters from Ukip to the Conservative party, but he argued they will return in the long term.
"The future of Ukip is very bright indeed," Nuttall said, adding that Ukip could grow even bigger than before.
Arron Banks, a leading donor to the Ukip party, said this week it was "finished as an electoral force", while Steven Woolfe, ex-MEP, and former MP Douglas Carswell have said the party's influence is effectively over, according to reports.