Success for Ukip at Havant Borough Council elections

The team passes the Nelson statue in Old Portsmouth. Picture: Keith Woodland (171022-0023)

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UKIP have scored their first ever seats on Havant Borough Council, taking two safe Tory wards.

It means Ukip have become the third biggest party in the borough with the Liberal Democrats hanging on with just one seat.

Frida Edwards took Conservative for Bondfields on Havant Borough Council ''''Picture: Malcolm Wells (141507-0282)

Frida Edwards took Conservative for Bondfields on Havant Borough Council ''''Picture: Malcolm Wells (141507-0282)

Beryl Francis, 80, took Warren Park for Labour after Tory Mark Johnson gave up his seat.

Before last night the Conservatives – who have held a 12-year grip on Havant – had 34 of the borough’s 38 seats.

But that has now been cut to 31 Conservatives, four Labour, one Liberal Democrat and two Ukip.

Ukip’s Gary Kerrin took Stakes ward in Waterlooville after Conservative Olwyn Kennedy stood down.

The 37-year-old father-of-three has stood in every local, European and national election for Ukip since 2008 but had to wait until last night for victory.

He said: ‘I’m absolutely over the moon.

‘I’ve been determined for six years to get elected.

‘There were only 34 votes in it but that’s all you need.

‘People are generally fed up with the main three, the constant lies and promises they break.

‘I think they’ve come out and decided to see if someone else can change things.’

Ukip chairman John Perry won Hayling East in a knife-edge vote, knocking out the Conservatives’ John Smith following the Tory demand for a recount.

Mr Perry said: ‘It was really close. I always predicted it would be really close, just as it has been in previous years. We’re the third biggest party and the first time in Havant.’

Frida Edwards retained her Bondfields seat for the Conservatives and broke out into a dance on stage.

‘I’m absolutely ecstatic!’ she squealed, following rumours which swept around the counting hall that Labour candidate Munnaza Faiz had taken it.

Despite losing four seats the Conservatives retain their grip on the council.

The new council leader Mike Cheshire kept his safe Hart Plain seat with a majority of 577.

He took over from Councillor Tony Briggs who stepped down as group leader last month but managed to keep his Cowplain ward.

Cllr Briggs said: ‘Considering we have had a large majority for 12 years proves that people are happy and we have clear support

because we have frozen council tax without cutting services.’

Cllr Cheshire, who now enters his sixth year on the council, said he was ‘delighted’ with the results of the night, despite losing three seats.

Although nationally the conversation has been dominated by Ukip in the European elections, the local party failed to find enough candidates to fight all 14 seats, fielding fewer than the Green Party.

Overall turnout at 32.79 per cent was higher than the last local elections which only attracted 27.5 per cent of the electorate to the ballot box.

Father and son David and George Smith now both represent Bedhampton for the Conservatives.

David was elected in a by-election last year and was inspired to go into politics by his son who won his seat three years ago.

David said: ‘I’m delighted. I tripled my majority.

‘It was George who inspired me because I saw all the good he was doing.’

David took over from Jenny Wride who was a long-term councillor but had to retire due to ill-health.

Click here to see the full results.