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Conservative leader of Tunbridge Wells council loses seat to UKIP

The Conservative leader of Tunbridge Wells council has lost his seat to UKIP in a major shock.

Cllr Robert Atwood was defeated by just 46 votes in the Rusthall ward as counting continued this morning.

The winning candidate, Piers Wauchope - a criminal barrister and former Tory councillor in Camden - polled 533 votes against 487 for Mr Atwood, who had been leader for only a year.

Labour’s attempt to mount an offensive in the borough brought them just one victory.

It was the first time Labour had fielded a candidate in every seat of the Tory heartland and the onslaught landed them a victory in Southborough and High Brooms, where their candidate Alain Lewis fought off Conservative candidate Nasir Jamil.

Another surprise came in Pembury where Independent Mike Tomsett won one of the two seats up for grabs. The other was taken by Conservative Paul Barrington-King.

The Conservatives managed to stop the rot at this point by holding all their other seats, but the overwhelming feeling was the party had been given more than just a black eye.

UKIP made a breakthrough on the council at the last elections in Tunbridge Wells and now has two members.

A second leading Conservative has also lost his seat on Tunbridge Wells. Cllr Brian Ransley was defeated by the Lib Dems in Capel.Maidstone town centre

It comes after the County Town woke up to find nothing much had changed after polling for the borough council elections yesterday.

In an election marked by a very low turnout of just 29%, the only significant difference was the return of a Labour candidate to the council chamber after an absence of four years.

Labour took one seat with the election of Malcolm McKay in Shepway South.

The Conservatives gained one seat from the Lib Dems in Heath Ward and lost one to Labour, leaving them with no change overall on 30 seats.

The Lib Dems slipped two seats to 19 after they also lost Park Wood to an Independent after deciding not to field a candidate.

Both Labour and the Independents gained one.

It means overall the Tories’ position remains unchanged with a five seat majority over the combined total of opposition parties.

Council leader Chris Garland survived his own election battle in Shepway North, but with a much reduced majority.

See our interactive map graphic above

He said: “I’m very pleased we have retained our position despite the national situation. The low turnout however is disappointing.”

Cllr Fran Wilson, the Lib Dem leader, felt her party had suffered because of the national situation. She said: “It’s frustrating, no matter how hard you work locally, people are still swayed by the national politics.”

Newly elected Labour Cllr Malcolm Mackay said: “I’m delighted. There will be more of us now that we have pushed open the door.”Paul Francis blog button

In Boughton Monchelsea, the former Independent leader Mike Fitzgerald who retired at this election saw his nominated successor Steve Munford easily win the seat with the biggest turnout of the night, at 46%.

Both the Greens and Labour has been optimistic about wresting Fant from Tory Stephen Paine, but it was not to be. After four re-counts, Cllr Paine kept the seat with a 62 majority.

The Greens, UKIP and the National Front all failed to win a seat.


The state of the parties in Maidstone

Conservative 30

Lib Dems 19

Independent 5

Labour 1


The results



Malcom Robertson (Lib Dem)          1146

Barry Ginley (Con)    613

Wendy Hollands (Lab)          266

Turnout:         36%



Fay Gooch (Ind)        722

Sue Black (Con)       182

Turnout:         46%



Richard Ash (Con)    1340

Steve Gibson (Lab)   396

Ciaran Oliver (Green)           204

Geoffrey Samme (Lib Dem) 154

Turnout:         31%


Boughton Monchelsea and Chart Sutton

Steve Munford (Ind)   707

Andrew Le Hegarat (Con)     192

Gill Annan (Lab)        39

Turnout:         46%



Wendy Hinder (Con) 1167

Michael Beckwith (Lab)         357

Andrew Waldie (Green)   186

Turnout:         26%



James Ross (Con)   443

Rob Field (Lib Dem) 407

Bruce Heald (Lab)     200

Robin Kinrade  (Green)         141

Turnout:                     26%


Coxheath and Hunton

John Wilson (Con)    794

Martin Rabicano (Lib Dem)   638

Keith Woollven (UKIP)          222

Stella Randall (Lab)   221

Denise Hay (Green)  114

Turnout:                     34%



Martin Cox (Lib Dem)            1060

Tony Dennison (Con)           623

Hannah Patton (Green)         312

Turnout:                     30%



Stephen Paine (Con)            610

Paul Harper (Lab)     548

Stuart Jeffery (Green)           442

Irene Shepherd (Lib Dem)    311

Turnout:         28%



Richard Thick (Con) 1001

Penny Kemp (Ind)     417

Turnout:                     36%


Heath (two seats)

Bryan Vizzard (Lib Dem) 499

Brian Moss (Con)      428

Mark Naghi (Lib Dem)           369

Scott Hahnefeld (Con)          349

Patrick Coates (Lab)             217

Richard Coates (Lab)           217

James Shalice (Green) 120

Turnout:        26%


High Street

Denise Joy (Lib Dem)           649

Paul Butcher (Con)   374

Marianna Poliszczuk (Lab)   233

John Stanford (UKIP)            176

Wendy Lewis (Green)           113

Turnout:                     23%



Marden and Yalding

Steve McLoughlin (Con)       1106

Edith Davis (Lab)      288

Ian McDonald (Green)           199

Ralph Austin (Lib Dem) 179

Turnout:                     30%



Jenni Paterson (Lib Dem)     907

Jeff Tree (Con)          381

Keith Adkinson (Lab) 206

Turnout          27%


North Downs

Daphne Parvin (Con)            442

Carol Vizzard (Ind)    115

Audrey Gardner (Lab)           84

Sarah Goodwin (Green)        66

Turnout:         36%


Park Wood

Daniel Moriarty (Ind)  319

Debbie Fernandez (Lab)       276

Gary Cooke (Con)     214

Turnout:                     18%


Shepway North

Christopher Garland (Con)   742

Jim Grogan (Lab)      595

Stephen Muggeridge (Green)           167

Gary Butler (Nat Front)         97

Turnout:                     24%


Shepway South

Malcolm McKay 418

Bob Hinder (Con)      265

Geoff Licence (Ind)   260

Turnout:                     21%



Ian Chittenden (Lib Dem)      1306

Vianne Gibbons (Con)          757

Turnout:                     32%


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