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Ukip byelection victory secures overall control of Thanet council

UKIP has won a council by-election in Thanet that has seen the party regain overall control of the council again.

It won the two seats up for grabs in the Northwood ward by-election last night, with its two candidates Lynda Piper and George Rusieski beating off a challenge from Labour.

The result is a welcome fillip for the party but is less good news for Labour, which had hopes of winning but fell short.

Chris Wells has stepped down as leader of Thanet District Council
Chris Wells has stepped down as leader of Thanet District Council

UKIP also won the two seats being contested on Ramsgate Town Council.

The UKIP council leader Chris Wells said: "In a post-Brexit world, the media has asked what is the purpose of UKIP? And on the doorsteps the voters of Northwood have given their answer.

"It is to make sure the Tory government genuinely pursues Brexit. It is to ensure locally we never sink to the toxic and dysfunctional chaos of Labour administration again.

"It is to have a council which residents can feel proud to have act on its behalf. All the things Tory and Labour Councils have previously failed to achieve here in Thanet.

"We will resume work to right the financial and reputational wrongs inherited from previous administrations and we will, day by day, continue to honour the trust voters have renewed in us this day."

UKIP party leader Nigel Farage, who held a rally in the town ahead of the poll, could not disguise his glee along with other leading party figures.

The result leaves UKIP with 29 of the 56 seats on the council.

Labour's woes stack up in Kent - read the blog by our political editor Paul Francis on the problems facing the party

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