Woking says ‘no’ to UKIP’s storm

WOKING’S resistance to the UKIP surge could not prevent the party savouring what may turn out to be more than just a purple patch on the European stage.

The usual, early May local elections were put back this year to make way for the Euro vote.

And they delivered Nigel Farage’s perfect storm, with his anti-Europe campaign winning over voters across the South East.

UKIP gained two seats for the region, bringing their total MEP contingent to four, while the Conservatives lost one as they dropped to three representatives, but the controversial Farage and his colleagues received reserved backing from the Woking electorate. They kept faith with the Tories, who actually increased their majority locally from the 2009 vote – albeit by 0.1 per cent.

There were 10 places up for grabs. The UKIP quartet celebrating last Sunday’s count were Janice Atkinson, Ray Finch, Diane James and Farage.

Lib Dem Catherine Bearder retained her seat, Labour’s Anneliese Dodds was voted in, while Green Party MEP Keith Taylor successfully defended his title.

Conservatives Richard Ashworth, Nirj Deva and Dan Hannan were all re-elected. Woking MP Jonathan Lord said: “I am delighted that the Conservatives have once again topped the poles for the European elections in Woking, and indeed we have bucked the nationwide trend by increasing our share of the vote.

“I congratulate Dan Hannan, Nirj Deva and Richard Ashworth  on their re-election to the European Parliament, and I look forward to working closely with them on behalf of Woking residents in the years ahead.”

Turnout for the Euro vote in the South East was similar to that for the nation’s local elections – about 36 per cent. The count was announced by Returning Officer Mark Heath in Southampton.

It was the eighth European Election since 1979.

Nationally UKIP walked away with 24 MEPs, an 11-seat improvement on 2009.

Labour gained seven seats and will now have 20 faces representing them in Brussels, but the Tories lost seven MEPs and will now have to be content with 19. The Lib Dems were the biggest losers, their 10 casualties leaving just a lone voice in the European Parliament.

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