After winning his TV showdown with Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg, Ukip leader Nigel Farage is set to receive more good news as his party is projected to gain in upcoming European elections.

The party's rising popularity is likely to gain it seats at the expense of smaller parties such as the British National Party, while eating into the Conservative and Liberal Democrat vote.

A YouGov survey puts Ukip just behind Labour in second in voting intentions for the May European Parliament elections and one point ahead of Labour in those absolutely certain to vote at the ballot box.

Labour and Conservative MEPs have belittled Ukip in the build-up to the elections, with Labour's Richard Howitt saying that there was "a revolving door between Ukip and the BNP" while the Conservatives' Syed Kamall said that the party "are good for YouTube, but I don't think they are good for the UK".

Ukip's Derek Clark, however, is confident of gains in the May elections leading to the party's first MPs elected to Westminster.

"If things go on as they are, we are going to do well in the European elections. That, we hope, will lead us on to some MPs elected to Westminster. And of course the person we want in Westminster is Nigel, but we don't want him there on his own," he said.

In the 2009 European elections, the Conservatives won 26 seats, with Labour and Ukip both winning 13 and the Liberal Democrats with 11.

The Scottish Nationalists, Greens and British National Party won two seats each and Plaid Cymru, Sinn Fein and the Democratic Unionists won one each.