Number of UKIP votes take Dunmow county councillor by surprise

Susan Barker, the Conservative councillor for Dunmow.

Susan Barker, the Conservative councillor for Dunmow. - Credit: Archant

THE Government needs to sit up and take notice of the view of the electorate on immigration and the UK’s membership in the European Union, according to Dunmow’s re-elected county councillor.

Speaking to the Reporter after last night’s Essex County Council elections, Susan Barker, who won but saw her majority from the previous election in 2009 halved from 2,874 to 1,363, said UKIP’s storming performance to secure second place had been unexpected.

“I’m not surprised to have held my seat but I am surprised at the number of UKIP votes,” she explained, having repeatedly raised concerns about the votes the party was receiving as the count was going on.

“It reflects the impression I’ve had from knocking on doors that immigration and the country’s membership in the EU are issues people feel strongly about. I think the Conservative government needs to sit up and take notice.”

Re-elected county councillor for Thaxted, Simon Walsh, was also taken aback by the success of UKIP in his division.

He comfortably retained his seat for the area with a majority of 1,014 but his advantage from the previous election was slashed in half by second-placed UKIP candidate Stuart Moore.

Cllr Walsh said: “It’s clearly a protest vote. I was not aware of them campaigning actively in the area and had not seen any leaflets, nor was the candidate particularly local. They have not just taken Conservative votes but Lib Dem as well, which will be a bit of a shock for them.”

Most Read

He added: “Obviously I’m pleased and grateful for the support from the electorate. This will be my third time representing Thaxted and I think we were fighting an election under challenging circumstances,” said Cllr Walsh, referring to his recovery from a broken ankle which put restrictions on campaigning.

“I now have four more years and will continue to campaign very strongly to ensure the future of Clarence House as a public-owned building.

“It’s also important to get the roads better repaired and more usable. One of my concerns is there are quite a high number of road accidents in Uttlesford which may be down to speeding traffic and I want to work to get some better speed limits put in.”

In the Newport by-election for a seat on Uttlesford District Council, victor Joanna Parry built on the big night for independents as she took the seat vacated by former Lib Dem councillor Peter Wilcock.

She joins Conservative councillor Jeremy Rose as the other representative for the villages of Rickling, Quendon, Widdington and Newport.

Cllr Parry formed the campaign group Save Newport Village, which opposes large scale housing developments in the village, last year and joined the parish council shortly after.

Reflecting on her victory, she told the Reporter: “I’m absolutely thrilled to have received so many votes from the people of Newport.

“It is an affirmation that the work I have done with Save Newport Village has been recognised and is a shock considering I only became a member of the parish council a little over a year ago.”