Election 2013: Conservatives lose all seven seats in Lowestoft
PUBLISHED: 21:39 03 May 2013 | UPDATED: 21:39 03 May 2013
THE Conservative Party was left reeling in Lowestoft last night after elections defeats at Suffolk County led to it losing all of its seven seats in the town.
Yesterday’s county council elections mean there are no Conservative councillors representing Lowestoft’s four divisions after UKIP held its one seat and took two others and the Labour Party gained the other five.
But the Tories held their five seats in the Beccles, Bungay, Halesworth and Kessingland and Southwold divisions.
And at county level the Tories suffered further setbacks as the party’s 35 majority was cut down to just three thanks to Labour/Labour Co-operative’s 11 seat gain to a total of 15 seats to become the opposition instead of Liberal Democrats and the election of nine UKIP councillors.
Mark Bee, the leader of Suffolk County Council who held his Conservative seat in Beccles, said: “As a party we are seeing a problem in urban areas where UKIP is squeezing votes.
“If you look at places like Lowestoft you now have three main parties – the Conservatives, Labour and UKIP.
“Clearly there was also some form of mid-term government protest against the party.
“It is a bit disappointing as we have run a tight ship at the council for the last four years and have gained a good reputation for what we have done.”
Yesterday’s results saw Colin Law, the leader of Waveney District Council and Mike Barnard, Waveney’s cabinet member for resources, lose their county seats in the Gunton division.
The Labour Party now hopes it can repeat yesterday’s five seat success in the Oulton, Lowestoft South and Pakefield divisions by toppling the Conservative-led Waveney District Council, which holds its full election in 2015.
Tod Sullivan, from the Waveney Labour group said: “I think today has been a really good day for us.
“We are gaining real momentum in Lowestoft and want to widen that out across Waveney.
“People in the town don’t want the Conservatives in power on both sets of councils.”
Before the election UKIP councillor for Lowestoft South Bill Mountford had been the only non-Conservative county councillor in Lowestoft and was the only UKIP councillor for Suffolk in 2009’s elections.
He has been joined in Lowestoft by UKIP councillors Bert Poole and Derek Hackett, of the Lowestoft South and Oulton Division respectively.
Mr Mountford said: “People are disillusioned with the existing parties and doubt their trust worthiness. The other parties don’t always follow up what they say at elections.
“We are now a viable and credible political party.”