A NIGHT of political stalemate means the make-up of Coventry 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 into second place in Labour strongholds – but they never threatened winning their first ever seat on the council.
Labour had hoped for gains in one or more of the six Tory-held seats up for grabs 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.
It had been a tense night for the two candidates after a recount of votes but the final result was finally made clear at around 6.30am.
Other battles saw leader Ann Lucas win by a huge majority in Holbrook. She had been forced to stand against Sky Blues protest candidate Brian Patton, who stood as an independent on behalf of 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 even beaten into fourth place by the British National Party.
She said the result sent a clear message to the protest.
Deputy leader Phil Townshend also picked up a big majority in Lower Stoke.
He said it had been an interesting night for all parties.
“It’s interesting because of the enormous profile that’s been given to UKIP over the last few months. 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.
“My message to mainstream politicians is UKIP if you want to, but the Labour party is staying awake and being prepared to debate these issues and the issues that matter to the people of Coventry like jobs, education, the health service and about making this city great again.”
But UKIP’s city branch chairman, Mark Taylor, said the party had made a big impact in the city.
They came second in eight of the 11 wards they stood in, with all them being Labour strongholds.
Mr Taylor – who turned down a chance to run in yesterday’s EU elections to focus on the city – said: “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 said he was very happy with the result, claiming the 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 decided to campaign on local issues that affect people in Coventry whereas Labour seem to want to campaign locally on national issues.
“We’ve shown that when people elect Conservatives they are hardworking and get things done.”