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Colchester: Group leaders predicting close-run night as ballot papers are counted

Election count

Election count

The party leaders are talking of an unsettled atmosphere on the counting floor.

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Tory leader Will Quince, who is not up for election tonight, said his party’s aim for tonight has always been to make up some ground - particularly in the Castle, Mile End and Christ Church wards, and possibly New Town.

He said: “I generally get the feeling having been out there today it will be neck and neck in some places. We have been working really hard.

“The expectation is to make up the ground to open it up for the general election next year, and if we manage to win a seat that will be the icing on the cake.”

Mr Quince said having the Euro elections on the same day, and election day being later than usual in May, could be factors in turnout and how people vote.

However he does not perceive a threat to the Tory vote from UKIP.

“I think UKIP have split it so much it makes a lot of seats open to anyone, and that’s not a negative thing,” he said.

“UKIP are taking votes from across the divide, not just right or left-wing votes.

“Labour and the Lib Dems are also feeling the pinch from the Greens, so the squeeze is coming from all sides.”

This was all contributing to the atmosphere down on the counting floor.

Mr Quince added: “It is a complete uncertainty. Usually you come knowing pretty much what is going to happen, but that is not the case tonight.

“I would like to think we will see some recounts because it is exciting, and shows how hard everyone has been working.

“Of course it’s very nerve-wracking for the candidates, and I glad I’m not standing this evening.”

Jordan Newell, chairman of the Colchester Labour Party, is also speaking of an unsettled atmosphere on the counting floor.

“The feeling tonight is one of unpredictably,” he said.

“We all knew this would be a difficult election. The norms of politics many of us have known for a number of years have gone, this is a new world.

“It will be an interesting night tonight and I am not making any predictions.”

However Mr Newell said Labour were confident of winning the Berechurch seat (contested by Chris Pearson for them), which would give the party all three of the seats in the ward.

He is hopeful of an overall increase of the share of the vote - which increase Labour’s bargaining power within the Lib Dem/Labour coalition administration at the council.

“I am ambitious for us to be pushing all of the time,” he said.

“It’s not so much we punch above our weight in cabinet but we do more and are seen to do more than our cabinet colleagues, which shows we can exercise power.

“The dynamic of the next cabinet will be interesting.”

UKIP is hopeful of winning at least one, and possibly up to three seats in the Colchester Borough Council elections.

Ron Levy, the Castle ward candidate and Colchester branch secretary, said: “We are showing well in all the other seats too, and I predict we will come second in several.

“However it is not just about showing well and we expect to win some seats, maybe a couple and if we are really successful then possibly three.”

The UKIP target seats are the Shrub End, Mile End and Castle wards.

“We have earned it,” Mr Levy added.

If UKIP win it would be their first seat on the council.

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