Stansted division: Conservative Ray Gooding reflects on his biggest ever majority

Ray Gooding increased his majority in Stansted.

Ray Gooding increased his majority in Stansted. - Credit: Archant

STANSTED representative Ray Gooding said he hopes to retain his position on Essex County Council’s cabinet after securing his biggest ever majority in the division.

The Conservative councillor beat Liberal Democrat candidate Geoffrey Sell, also the chairman of Stansted Mountfitchet Parish Council, by 496 votes – increasing the 97 majority he had in the previous election in 2009.

He told the Reporter he was “really pleased” to have tightened his grip on the Stansted seat after what he said was a “difficult election to read” this time round.

“The impact of UKIP has been a significant issue so I’m quite surprised to have got my biggest ever majority in the division. But I think it reflects the high number of personal votes I’ve had as well as for the party and that is really good news from my point of view,” explained Cllr Gooding, who held the portfolio for Children’s Services in the previous cabinet.

“With the Conservatives gaining an overall majority at County Hall I’m quite hoping to be on the cabinet again and would like to carry on what I have been doing, or something similar.”

Fellow Tory Joe Rich, who is a district councillor representing Stansted North, said: “Ray Gooding has been an excellent candidate and has worked incredibly hard for Stansted. He has got the result he deserved and it reflects the kind of man he is. The first thing he did was go over and shake Geoffrey Sell’s hand.”

Mr Sell told the Reporter he was disappointed to see the Tories increase their stranglehold on the Stansted division but believed his party “was always going to be swimming against the tide”.

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He said: “We had a good campaign and the team fought hard. It’s just that the national climate is not with us at the moment – but we’ll live to fight another day.”

Mr Sell said he understood there was a “degree of dissatisfaction amongst the majority of the electorate” and believed that UKIP had been “a protest vehicle” for people.

He added: “I’m not surprised there were so many people voting UKIP but considering they put out no literature and had no idea what they wanted to do with the division, it sends out a bit of a negative message.

“I know the party is the flavour of the month at the moment but I think people were voting for them without really knowing the candidate or what they would do for the area.”

But UKIP’s candidate for Saffron Walden hit back. Barry Tyler said: “I commend the good sense of the Uttlesford electorate in showing so much support for UKIP at this election.

“In 12 months time our nation will have the vote on Europe that, ‘Call me Dave’, “I’ll never, ever, ever give them”.

“I predict another victory on the road to freedom for Britain and common sense politics.”