Tories come out on top againin Havant as Ukip make gains

THE Tories swept to victory in Havant borough as their stronghold continued.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 6th May 2016, 4:37 am
Updated Friday, 6th May 2016, 5:42 am
The Ukip group in Havant, from left, Gary Kerrin (Stakes), Malc Carpenter (Battins), John Davis (Warren Park) and John Perry (Hayling East) Picture: Malcolm Wells (160506-4495)
The Ukip group in Havant, from left, Gary Kerrin (Stakes), Malc Carpenter (Battins), John Davis (Warren Park) and John Perry (Hayling East) Picture: Malcolm Wells (160506-4495)

But there were a few surprises last night as Ukip had their best result yet in local Havant elections and Labour had one of their worst.

Ukip took two seats in Leigh Park – Battins and Warren Park – from two long-serving Labour councillors, Ralph Cousins and Richard Brown.

The Tories took 11 of the 14 seats up for election, including several where sitting councillors were defending their seats.

Mr Cousins and Mr Brown looked stunned as the news was broken to them at the count at Havant Leisure Centre.

Labour lost the Warren Park seat by just 15 votes to Ukip’s John Davis.

Cllr Davis, a 67-year-old former Royal Navy shipwright, told The News: ‘It’s brilliant.

‘I haven’t stood in Warren Park before. We did our best to get a candidate in every ward this time.

‘I think there has been a genuine surge in the country for Ukip.

‘The EU referendum is coming up and it’s got on the front pages.’

Malc Carpenter took Battins from Mr Cousins, who has been a serving councillor for 22 of the last 32 years for Labour.

Cllr Carpenter said: ‘I am so happy – after all the effort I put in.

‘I have been on the streets for four hours a day for the past few weeks.’

He added that he thought voters wanted ‘change’.

It means there are now four Ukip councillors on Havant Borough Council, two Labour, one Lib Dem and 31 Conservatives.

Mr Brown said: ‘I’m a bit disappointed.

‘It’s a shock because we all work very hard.’

Mr Cousins said he was ‘gutted’ but added that it was ‘predictable’ because voters are thinking about the Europe question.

In the rest of the borough, it was a familiar story as Conservatives maintained their large majorities.

Winning Hayling West was 27-year-old Joanne Thomas, who works as a sales co-ordinator for The Breeze and Sam FM radio stations.

She said: ‘It feels absolutely wonderful – I’m elated.

‘You would not believe the excitement building up to tonight – the anticipation, the nerves, having family and friends here.

‘I’m going to be grinning from ear to ear for the next week.’

Councillor David Guest held on to his St Faith’s seat for the Tories with a comfortable majority, despite his backing of the Market Parade tower block, which caused some controversy earlier this year.

He said he was ‘humbled’ to be voted in for the fifth time and saw his job as a great ‘privilege’.

Regarding Ukip’s in-roads into the council, he said: ‘It’s obvious to me that the public are sending the government a message.

‘The government have said they want to stay in Europe and the public are telling the government how they feel.’

Leah Turner, the current Mayor of Havant, was a picture of relief as she held on to Hayling East, despite a strong threat from Ukip. She said she ‘loved’ being a councillor.

Tony Briggs, the deputy leader of Havant Borough Council, said people were feeling ‘better off’ under the Tories.

He said: ‘We provide first-class services.

‘There’s been no increase in council tax for seven years.’