Ukip continues its march across the south

THEY ALL COUNT Ukip made big gains in Thursday's election
THEY ALL COUNT Ukip made big gains in Thursday's election

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The UK Independence Party’s county council election success continued as they took 10 seats in West Sussex and became the Conservatives’ main opposition.

Although the Tories retained control of the 71-seat council the right-wing populist party made big strides clocking up four seats in the Bognor, Selsey and Bourne areas.

The party even took former council chairman Mike Coleman’s Conservative Nyetimber seat.

The results, counted yesterday at County Hall in Chichester, follow on from Thursday night’s Hampshire County Council count which saw Ukip win 10 seats, including Leigh Park and Bedhampton which was won by Ray Finch.

The new West Sussex make-up sees the Conservatives occupy 46 seats, Ukip 10, the Liberal Democrats eight and Labour six, with one independent.

The Bognor Regis area saw four Ukip candidates elected, two Conservatives and one Liberal Democrat.

Ukip’s Bernard Smith, who was elected for Selsey, said: ‘I’m a bit over-awed. I’m the first Ukip councillor on West Sussex County Council. We’ve come second every time.

‘I’m looking forward to the challenge.

‘We are getting to the stage now where they have got to take in to account what the party has to say, and the public has to listen to us.’

His colleague Sandra James was elected to the Bourne ward which covers Westbourne and Southbourne.

She said: ‘It feels very good to have won, I’m pleased.

’I’m prepared and ready for the challenge.

‘I’ve been a parish councillor for a long time.

‘There is now a need to ensure our voices are heard.’

Leader of the council Louise Goldsmith was re-elected to her Chichester West seat with a difference of 975 votes between her and the second-placed candidate, Ukip’s Douglas Denny.

‘I’m very happy to have been re-elected. I love my division and we have a terrific community,’ she said.

‘I’m delighted the Conservatives have also won Chichester East – it is a terrific win for Simon Oakley.’

Reacting to the news that council stalwart Mark Dunn had lost his seat in the Bourne division she said: ‘It is sad to see Mark Dunn go, but that is the national trend at the moment.

‘We have lost a very experienced councillor, but it is just one of those things. We have made firm promises, which we now must deliver.

‘This is just the result.’

Further afield in the county council elections a Ukip candidate won a seat without even canvassing. Mick Clark, who now represents Saltings was announced the winner with 769 votes but was not at the election count.

His absence from the count was put down to a work emergency by fellow party members.

The overall turnout across the county was 29.96 per cent.

Ukip leader Nigel Farage hailed the ‘remarkable’ results across the country.

Meanwhile Prime Minister David Cameron said the gains made by Ukip were a major lesson for the three main parties.

He said: ‘For the Conservatives I understand why some people who have supported us before didn’t support us again.

‘They want us to do even more to work for hard-working people to sort out the issues they care about.’