UKIP gain three seats in west Suffolk by-elections and Conservatives lose four - results 2016
The UK Independece Party have snatched victory from the Tories in Haverhill following a Suffolk County Council by-election.
John Burns won the Haverhill Cangle seat with 1,273, a majority of just 105 over the Tory candidate.
The seat had been held by Conservative member Tim Marks, who died earlier this year.
Standing for the Conservatives in Haverhill Cangle was Mr Marks’ wife Margaret, who Mr Burns commended for a strong campaign.
“All of us care about Haverhill,” said Mr Burns, who already sits on St Edmundsbury Borough Council. “Margaret and David [Smith] for Labour, we try and represent Haverhill and the residents here. There is a perception that our little town is often overlooked. Haverhill is very strong for UKIP and we have had a good day today.”
Mr Burns’ victory leaves Suffolk County Council’s ruling Conservative group with no overall control.
“I think they [the Tories] are getting a bit jittery now – they are on the edge,” added Mr Burns. “I am someone who does not really believe in party politics especially on the council. I am here to represent everyone, not just those that came out and voted UKIP and voted for me.”
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UKIP also won two seats in the local by-elections, taking both South Ward on Forest Heath District Council and Haverhill North on St Edmundsbury Borough Council from Conservative control.
The South Ward turnout was unusually high for a by-election at 46.7%. The election was triggered after the resignation of Conservative councillor James Lay.
UKIP’s Roger Dicker won the South Ward by a narrow 334 votes to the 309 votes for Tory candidate Karen Soons.
The Brandon West Forest Heath seat was won by West Suffolk Independents Victor Lukaniuk with 220 votes to UKIP’s Ian Smith on 197, followed by independent candidate Eddie Stewart on 180. Conservative candidate Tony Simmons was left in fourth place on 161 votes.
The by-election was triggered after the sad death of former council chairman David Bimson, a Conservative councillor.
West Suffolk Independents group leader Simon Cole welcomed the victory. It takes their number to five on the council, making them the largest opposition group.
Forest Heath deputy leader Robin Millar said the high turnout in South Ward was encouraging and despite losing two seat, the Conservatives still had a strong majority and mandate for the next three years.
In St Edmundsbury, the Haverhill North seat has gone to UKIP’s Ant Williams. He won with 563 votes to Labour’s 460.
Elections took place for two town council seats in the west of the county, with independent candidate Paul Hopfensperger being elected to serve the St Olaves Ward on Bury St Edmunds Town Council and Andy Drummond winning St Mary’s Ward on Newmarket Town Council for the Tories.
Forest Heath District Council
South Ward: Roger Dicker (UKIP) 334; Karen Soons (C) 309. UKIP majority 25. Turn out: 46.7%. C loss.
Brandon West: Victor Lukaniuk (WSI) 220; Tony Simmons (C) 161; Ian Smith (UKIP) 197; Eddie Stewart (ind) 180. West Suffolk Independents (WSI) majority 23. Turn out 29%. C loss.
St Edmundsbury Borough Council
Haverhill North: Maureen Byrne (L) 460; John Fox (C) 409; Ken Rolph (LD) 78; Ant Williams (UKIP) 563. UKIP majority 103. C loss.
Suffolk County Council
Haverhill Cangle: John Burns (UKIP) 1,273; Margaret Marks (C) 1,168; Ken Rolph (LD) 178; David Smith (L) 838. UKIP majority 105. C loss.
Bury Town Council
St Olaves Ward: Quentin Cornish (L) 209; Paul Hopfensperger (ind) 288; Birgitte Major (C) 121. Independent majority 79. Turn out 18.9%. L loss.
Newmarket Town Council
St Mary’s Ward: Andy Drummond (C) 285; William Owen (ind) 263; Kevin Yarrow (L) 208. C majority 27. 19% turn out.