Brightlingsea: Voters looked to the long term, says the Tory who beat UKIP
A Conservative councillor who defeated UKIP in Essex on the same night the eurosceptic party took its first parliamentary seat, has spoken out about the political significance of his victory.
Alan Goggin was elected Brightlingsea’s new county councillor on Thursday in a by-election prompted by the resignation of UKIP’s Roger Lord.
While the political spotlight of that night has focused on Douglas Carswell, the Tory defector who became UKIP’s first MP in the Clacton by-election, Mr Goggin suggests his own victory may better reflect the electorate’s long-term priorities in Essex.
It will only be seven months before the voters in Clacton can choose who represents their views in Parliament, whereas the next Essex County Council elections are not until 2017.
“I don’t think people really wanted to be making political protests over something which will last for the next two and a half years,” Mr Goggin said. “I’ve appealed to people to think about what they are doing and think about its long-term implications.”
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UKIP took the seat in May 2013, with a majority of 164 votes, relegating the Conservatives into third place behind the Liberal Democrats, following four terms of Tory councillors.
Mr Goggin, who this time won by a 167-vote majority, admits his party failed to take UKIP seriously last time and paid the price.
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“This time round we were more aware and put a lot more effort into getting the message across as to why people should be voting locally on local issues for a local person,” he added.
“If you think long term and you are looking for a job to be done, looking at local issues and local concerns, then I think people have recognised that I live here, my kids grew up here, I know what’s going on locally and I think that gave me the advantage.”
As a Tendring district councillor, Mr Goggin says he has also benefitted from the work the Conservatives have carried out locally on securing investment for a £30million sea defence project and building new council houses.
In his first 100 days, he has pledged to visit every town and parish council within his ward and hold surgeries in every community.