The U.K. Independence Party has won a seat in the British Parliament for the first time, a significant breakthrough for the Euroskeptic, anti-immigration force.

Election officials said early Friday that UKIP candidate Douglas Carswell had won a special election in the eastern England constituency of Clacton-on-Sea with 12,404 votes. The Conservatives' Giles Watling came in second with 8,709 votes.

UKIP, which wants to curb immigration and pull Britain out of the European Union, has attracted growing numbers of voters as an alternative to Britain's mainstream parties.

It took the largest share of British votes in May elections for the European Parliament but has never before elected a U.K. lawmaker.

Thursday's special election was triggered when Carswell, who represented Clacton as a Conservative, defected to UKIP in August.