September 30th, 2016

UKIP gain vote share, but no major changes on city council

UKIP gain vote share, but no major changes on city council UKIP gain vote share, but no major changes on city council
Updated: 4:37 pm, May 07, 2015

A NIGHT of political stalemate means the make-up of the city council remains unchanged.

Just over a third of the 54 seats were up for grabs with both Labour and the Tories finishing the night with the same number of councillors they started – 43 and 11 respectively.

UKIP were the biggest movers of the night, beating the Tories to second place in Labour strongholds without really going close to winning their first ever seat on the council.

Labour had hoped for gains in one or more of six Tory-held seats but ended up losing the main four-year term in Cheylesmore to Tory Roger Bailey.

The ward had two seats up for grabs with second placed Labour candidate Richard Brown only getting a year term before standing again next year. He took the seat vacated early by Kevin Foster.

Other battles saw leader Ann Lucas win by a huge majority in Holbrook. She was up against Sky Blues protest candidate Brian Patton – an independent working for Get Cov Back to the Ricoh’s campaign to oust key council players in the football club saga.

But he only picked up 235 votes compared to Coun Lucas’ 1,962 and was beaten into fourth place by the British National Party.

She said the result sent a clear message to the protest.

Deputy leader Phil Townshend, who won by a big majority in Lower Stoke, said it had been an interesting night for all parties.

“These results demonstrate the Labour Party is still in the ascendancy in terms of public confidence, the policies it delivers locally and the policies it’s campaigning on nationally.

“UKIP have failed to make the breakthrough and win a council seat in Coventry, which was obviously their ambition.”

However, UKIP’s city branch chairman Mark Taylor said the party had made a big impact. They came second in eight of the 11 wards they stood in.

“We targeted second place in a number of wards so we’re very happy.

“It’s something to build on for next year, hopefully we can come back with more candidates and eat into that Labour vote some more.”

Tory leader John Blundell claimed his party had been rewarded for focusing on local issues.

“Two years ago we lost a number of councillors and we’ve held on this time.

“It shows we’ve improved and we’re looking stronger as an effective opposition to the Labour group.

“We’ve shown that when people elect Conservatives they are hardworking and get things done.”

CHANGES to the city council’s cabinet are expected in the coming days.

The Observer understands Coun Lynnette Kelly will relinquish her role as business cabinet member to focus on her bid to become an MP in Warwick and Leamington – a key target seat for Labour.

It would leave a key position available as the council strives to bring firms into the city and grow the local economy.

Among the contenders to replace her are veteran councillor Kevin Maton – a former cabinet member who currently chairs the planning committee – and Ed Ruane, who is highly thought of for his work as housing and heritage cabinet member.

Faye Abbott is another loyal to leader Ann Lucas who could benefit from any reshuffle along with John McNicholas, who chairs transport authority Centro.

Former cabinet member Jim O’Boyle had also been anticipiated to launch a bid to become deputy leader, but the move never led to a vote and Coun Phil Townshend remains in the position.

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