Last nights Somerset County Council elections saw the Conservatives only just keep control with 28 seats to 26 opposition seats with one final seat to declare (the Lib Dem seat of Coker where the UKIP candidate died thus causing the election to be postponed until May 16th). Around the county a staggering rise in the Far Right anti-immigrant UKIP vote saw that party make 3 gains-Minehead, Chard North and Yeovil Central. Meanwhile 2 progressive independents won in Lydeard and Watchet while coalition partners in crime the Lib Dems and the Tories all fell back making the county now a feather away from being ‘hung’.
Labour Bridgwater draws the line against hate
However, it was in Bridgwater that the line for decency and common sense was drawn, fought for and won by Labour , thanks to a hard working campaign team in and around the town and the honest voters who did the right thing and said ‘No’ to the hollow promises and hateful campaign of the far right.
in Bridgwater North and Central, experienced Labour campaigner and soon to be Mayor of the town Dave Loveridge trounced his Tory and Lib Dem opponents to retain his seat with an increased majority. Dave won with 700 votes to Conservatives 246 and Lib Dems 147 increasing his majority by more than 200.
In Bridgwater South town and district Councillor Leigh Redman fought and won a nose to nose battle with Tory grocer Lance Dudderidge to grab the seat from the Conservatives with a sensational win by 959 votes to 576 setting the Labour majority at around 500.
In Bridgwater East and West the Tories held onto their seats but with much reduced majorities and with UKIP grabbing votes across the board.
In Bridgwater West, sitting Tory Ann Bown had her majority slashed by 300 in a result that saw Labour’s Richard Hampson come third behind the UKIP candidate. The Conservatives were down to 715 votes against UKIP 541 Labour 463 and Lib Dem marginalised at 134 (another drop for the coalition this time of around 300 votes)
In Bridgwater East , which included the recently added Conservative leaning villages of Bawdrip and Weston Zoyland, Barbara O Connor was only 200 votes behind Tory cabinet member David Hall whose majority was hauled back by some 400 votes yet was deprived from victory and even second place by the 610 strong UKIP ‘vote from nowhere’, achieved without any campaigning other than the national media hype. The Conservatives clung on with 717 UKIP floating to the surface with 610 Labour up over 100 to 493 while Lib Dems collapsing by 300 to 113.
In total Labour had triumphed in Bridgwater with the following tally.
Lib Dem 396
Bridgwater returns 2 Labour and 2 Tory councillors now to County and the people that made the right choice, to get out there, vote for local hard working Labour candidates and say no to the divisive hate campaign of the far right UKIP, can be rightly proud of themselves today as the country wakes up to the smug face of the banker Farage and his unvetted shower of headline hitting scaremongers.