majority following one of the most tightly fought elections seen
They won 45 seats in total but UKIP kept the Tories on their toes
gaining 17 seats across Kent – winning seven out of eight seats in
Thanet and then grabbing two in Herne Bay at the last minute.
It also wrestled seats in Tunbridge Wells East from the
Conservatives, in Folkestone North East and Folkestone South from the
Conservatives, and in Folkestone West from the Lib Dems.
The UKIP party leader Nigel Farage told ThisisKent:
“This is a
sea change in British politics and an amazing day. We are connecting
with the decent people in Kent and I think we have made big big gains.”
Labour won 13 seats and Liberal Democrats gained seven. Greens has one seat and the Swansombe Residents’ Association (Independent) were voted back in again.
Council leader councillor Paul Carter told ThisisKent he was relieved they narrowly got past the line. He said:
“I am relieved in capital letters. We have got across
the line and we are delighted. But we feel enormously for the long
serving councillors who are unfortunately no longer with us.”
Among his casualties included education cabinet member councillor
Mike Whiting and longest-serving Conservative councillor Keith Ferrin
who stood for Swale Central. He added:
“We knew it was going to be close. The cards will have to be adjusted. The electorate has spoken in the county shires.”
Mr Carter admitted it was issues such as the country’s future
with Europe, immigration and the economy that had dented the party’s
Conservative candidate John Davies for Tunbridge Wells West
fought a tough battle against UKIP rival Victor Webb today winning 1831
votes to 1502.
UKIP came second in every division except Tunbridge Wells East which was successfully won by their candidate Chris Hoare.
Mr Davies blamed the Government’s policies on gay marriage, immigration and Europe for the loss of Conservative votes today. He said:
“The reason why we have lost votes is because of these
three national issues. The current administration now has to look out
whether we have gone too far left.”
Piers Wauchope, a UKIP spokesman, said:
“The result in Tunbridge
Wells was particularly pleasing as the Conservatives put a big effort
into the seat. The news from Shepway was great as well even in areas
where we did not make such an effort to connect to the electorate.”
thisiskent 3rd May 2013