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Published: 00:00, 08 May 2015 |
Updated: 01:05, 09 May 2015
The Conservatives kept control of Medway Council with a convincing victory in the local elections.
After the Towns returned three Tory MPs to Parliament earlier in the day, voters also gave the party a big vote of confidence to keep running the local authority with an increased majority.
They now have 36 seats out of 55, Labour have 15 and Ukip four, including one for Catriona Brown-Reckless, wife of former MP Mark Reckless, who had lost his Rochester and Strood seat earlier in the day.
It was a bad night for the Liberal Democrats who lost their last three seats and now have no presence on the council, echoing the party's disastrous performance in the general election. Defeated candidate Geoff Juby said: "We're being hammered for being in a coalition but I think we did the right thing for the country."
Among the highlights for the Conservatives were winning a seat in each of Twydall and Luton and Wayfield wards which are normally Labour strongholds.
This is how the night unfolded:
Last ward in is Rochester South and Horsted which ends on a high for the Conservatives as Trevor Clarke, Sylvia Griffin and Rupert Turpin are all voted back in.
Ukip double their numbers on the night with two new councillors in Peninsula ward. Roy Freshwater and Nick Pendergast are elected along with Conservative Phil Filmer, who's in charge of front line services.
Kelly does it again - Rochester and Strood's new MP is re-elected in Rochester West along with fellow Conservative Stuart Tranter. Like Gillingham and Rainham's Rehman Chishti, Cllr Tolhurst now has two political jobs.
As the Conservatives celebrate, Labour keep their grip on Chatham Central where group leader Vince Maple, former leader Paul Godwin and Julie Shaw are all back for another term.
The Tories keep control of Medway Council and their position is consolidated by victory in Walderslade where David Brake and Adrian Gulvin are elected.
Two more Conservative seats secured as former mayor David Carr and Martin Potter win in Rainham North. Another former mayor, Vaughan Hewett, who defected to Ukip from the Tories, finishes third but there are only two councillors in this ward
As midnight approaches we have six wards left to declare so there's still time for some surprises.
Up to Rainham South where three well-known Conservatives top the poll - Howard Doe, David Royle and Les Wicks. Tories getting closer to that 28 seat mark needed for an overall majority.
The results are coming in thick and fast now. Another Labour trio is chosen to represent Gillingham North - Pat Cooper, Adam Price and Andy Stamp. It's another disappointment for the Lib Dems as group leader Geoff Juby loses his seat.
Fourteen wards declared so far - Conservatives 23 seats, Labour nine, Ukip two.
It's a Labour trio in Gillingham South. Naushabah Khan, another general election candidate, wasn't successful in Rochester and Strood but she has a council seat. Clive Johnson and Citizens' Advice Bureau chief Dan McDonald also elected.
Over in Lordswood and Capstone there's more Tory success with the council's deputy leader and finance chief Alan Jarrett and David Wildey winning the seats.
Jane Chitty, recovering from her dog bite ordeal during the campaign. leads the voting in Strood North along with Steve Iles and Phil Hall - so three Conservatives in here.
Over in Luton and Wayfield ward it's a similar pattern to Twydall with Labour retaining two seats and the Conservatives winning the third. Councillors here are Tristan Osborne (Lab), Sam Craven (Lab) and Michael Franklin (Con)
It's all Tories in Strood Rural- John Williams, Peter Hicks and Gary Etheridge have been elected. So no place for long-serving councillor and former mayor Tom Mason who defected to Ukip after being de-selected by the Conservatives for this election. He still got a strong personal vote though - 2475.
Results have been declared in nine wards so far. At the moment Conservatives have 14 seats, Labour four and Ukip two but still plenty more to come
Something of a surprise in traditionally Labour Twydall where Dorte Gilry and Glyn Griffiths are re-elected but the third seat is taken by Conservative Anne-Claire Howard. That was the seat vacated by Labour veteran Paul Harriott who retired at this election after a remarkable 52 years as a councillor.
Labour wins its first seats of the night - Teresa Murray and Nick Bowler are returned in Rochester East.
It's been a very good day for Rehman Chishti. He regained his Gillingham and Rainham seat in the general election this morning and now he has retained his place in Rainham Central ward with a whopping 4,386 votes. Present mayor Barry Kemp and schools chief Mike O'Brien are also back on the council.
Princes Park has two Tory councillors - Tashi Bhutia and Gloria Opara - and so does Watling ward in Gillingham. Wendy Purdy holds on to her seat alongside newcomer Asha Saroy. Council stalwart Diana Smith goes the way of so many Liberal Democrats today.
The count holds some consolation for the Reckless household. Ukip's former MP Mark Reckless lost his Rochester and Strood seat early this morning but his wife is now a councillor.
Catriona Brown-Reckless won a seat in Strood South alongside fellow Ukip candidate Mark Joy and Tory John Avey. That means farewell to former mayor Josie Iles (Con) and another sitting councillor Isaac Igwe (Lab)
The earliest results went the way of the Tories with council leader Rodney Chambers and his wife, planning committee chairman Diane Chambers, regaining their seats in Hempstead and Wigmore.
Yet again, Mrs Chambers got more votes than her husband - 3,666 to his 3,555. He says it's right that she comes top of the poll as she has represented the ward for 10 years more than him.
River stayed Conservative with Andrew Mackness re-elected along with newcomer Habib Tejan who takes the seat vacated by Craig Mackinlay - he stepped down to fight for the South Thanet parliamentary seat and is now a new MP.
Another Tory victory was in the first declaration of the night for Cuxton and Halling where Matt Fearn is the new councillor.
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