Bt Graham West
That is the outcome of the recent County Council elections when Conservative candidate, Tony Hills, winning by over 1000 votes, with Ukip’s Susie Govett and Independent candidate, David Wimble, fighting it out for second and third place with only a handful of votes separating them.
At first the competition looked neck and neck between the Tories and UKIP as the votes started to be counted with local UKIP candidate, Susie Govett looking like the only candidate able to stop a Marsh landslide victory for the Tories, until it was noted that a large portion of votes had been incorrectly placed on her pile, when they were, in fact, votes for the Independent candidate, David Wimble. Fortunately, the error was quickly noticed and rectified.
Ms Govett was being interviewed by local media about the possibility of being the only UKIP councillor in the country to be in with a chance of winning a seat, when someone noted that the Independent votes had been mixed with hers. The whole UKIP Party took a major drubbing at the hands of the electorate, only scoring just 17 votes more than the Independent candidate, who claimed 20% of the total vote.
David Wimble told The Looker: “Yes, obviously I am disappointed, but I am overjoyed at the amount of support I received, and would like to say thank you to everyone who voted for me. I see it as a major achievement for someone who doesn’t have the backing of a national party and would encourage anyone who feels passionately about where they live to do the same. I stood on a purely local ticket, promoting Romney Marsh and protesting against the 6000 new homes planned for the area and the dwindling lack of amenities. I took pride in the fact I was the only truly local person to stand up and fight for these concerns. For me this is not the end, I will continue to fight for the Marsh and will be holding Councillor Hills to account on all the issues that will be affecting the people of the Marsh in the coming years. I believe having a County Councillor who will be whipped into voting for policy that will inevitably hurt the area, cannot be a good thing. Only when people are faced with the realisation that they can’t get their children into a local school and see longer waiting times for Doctor’s appointments, they may question their decision? Will I stand again? Undoubtedly the answer is yes! But perhaps I think it is time that Shepway had its own party. I would like congratulate the new County Councillor for Hythe, Martin Whybrow, on gaining the only Green seat.”
Other local parties crumbled on the night across the district with members of the Green, Liberal and Labour Parties only collectively getting 17% of the vote.
The turnout for the Marsh was 36% of the total 14,744
The Full results For Romney Marsh
Tony Hills Conservative 2218 42% Elected
Susie Govett UK Independence Party 1077 20% Not elected
David Wimble Independent 1061 20% Not elected
Nicola Helen Deane Labour 361 7% Not elected
Ted Last Liberal Democrat 335 6% Not elected
Andrew John South Green Party 215 4% Not elected
Hythe was a tighter affair with Shepway party leader David Monk squaring up to Green Party County Councillor Martin Wybrow.
The seat was a contentious one with the Conservatives putting a big push to overturn the Green vote, however despite the seats boundary now being changed to encompass Dymchurch and parts of St Mary’s Bay, the Green vote held; with Martin Whybrow being the only none Conservative councillor in Shepway to retain his seat. Mr Whybrow has canvassed hard over the controversial Princess Parade planning along with protests not to build a lorry park at Stanford. He was elated that the people of Hythe had once again put their trust in him for a further five year term.
Hythe Full Results
Martin Whybrow Green Party 2234 41% Elected
David Lionel Godwin Owen Conservative 2044 38% Not elected
Ian Barry Meyers UK Independence Party 493 9% Not elected
Christopher John Deane Labour 340 6% Not elected
Neil Matthews Liberal Democrat 280 5% Not elected
Hythe East, Cheriton and Sandgate wards also had Rory Love hold off a strong fight from Liberal stalwart, Tim Prator, but in the end the most he could muster was 24% of the vote. With Rory ‘The Tory’ Love coming in with 2172 votes.
Rory Cassian Love Conservative 2172 42% Elected
Tim Prater Liberal Democrat 1217 24% Not elected
Ross Carter Green Party 856 17% Not elected
Paul Richard Bingham Labour 506 10% Not elected
Neil Lawrence Jones UK Independence Party 398 8% Not elected