COUNTY ELECTIONS: Conservatives lick their wounds but vow to be back

Conservatives in south Lincolnshire were licking their wounds this morning but looking to the future in the aftermath of the Lincolnshire County Council elections.

In a night of surprises, no party managed to secure a majority, with UKIP making huge gains across the region.

But in spite of losing votes, the Tories still hold eight of the 15 seats across the Lincolnshire Free Press area.

Nick Worth was one of the first to hear he had held on to his seat in Holbeach with 979 votes, in spite of being down 18.6 per cent.

Coun Worth said: “Obviously I am delighted to be voted back in and will continue to give my all for Holbeach and the villages.

“This vote was all about national politics, which is disappointing when you have put in so much work locally, but that is what happens when your party is in government.

“The scale of support for UkIP is far more than just a protest vote and the coalition government and David Cameron need to wake up and smell the coffee.

“Key national issues from the electorate were pensions, Europe and immigration. The government needs to act on these now, not make vague promises for the future.

“I would like to say a big thank you to all my loyal supporters for sticking with me and congratulate Paul Foyster (Ukip) for running a good, friendly campaign. I can assure everyone that I will continue to work hard for them whatever their political persuation over the next four years.”

A shock result for the Conservatives was its deputy leader Eddy Poll being ousted from his seat in Spalding East and Moulton to UKIP’s Richard Fairman.

Mr Poll took 870 votes and was down 20.4 per cent. He said afterwards: “The upsurge in support for UKIP was a bit surprising and it’s a shame people decided to vote on national issues rather than what happens locally.

“As for me, I’ve really enjoyed my time with the County Council and I hope my contribution to life in Lincolnshire has been positive. You know that old saying as one door closes, another opens.”

Coun Gary Porter, leader of the Conservatives on South Holland District Council, was at the count and was disappointed by the turnout of voters.

He said: “I’m a bit shell-shocked. Historically it was always us and the Independents but it was hoped more people would vote with there being such a variety of parties standing.

“Only 24 to 31 per cent of the electorate turned out, which is disappointing. But UKIP did well - we’d predicted they might pick up some votes but they are now the second largest group at the county council

“All of the parties are going to have to take something from this - including us, we are going to have to fix it before the district elections.”

However, for Lincolnshire Independent Angela Newton, today was the start of a new challenge. Mrs Newton won Spalding West with 866 votes from Conservative Howard Johnson (506).

She said: “I’m absolutely delighted voters chose a Lincolnshire Independent candidate. A lot of people told me they were going to make a UKIP protest vote.

“I’m now looking forward to getting some sleep and then getting on with the job.”

We are hoping to bring more reaction during the day and for the full round-up see Tuesday’s Lincolnshire Free Press.