Tories secured an all-time record 28 seats on South Holland District Council when the results were declared this afternoon (Friday).
The number is up by three and was boosted by the big turnout of the Conservative faithful for the General Election, who re-elected MP John Hayes and also put crosses beside the names of Tory council candidates.
I feel very, very relieved. I have got loads of things to be getting on with and gardening isn’t one of them.Council leader Gary Porter
It’s not only the biggest number since the district council was formed in 1974, it’s thought to be a record “in forever” – including all of its predecessor authorities – according to council leader Gary Porter.
Before the election campaign even got under way, Coun Porter revealed his seat was at risk.
He said today: “I feel very, very relieved. I have got loads of things to be getting on with and gardening isn’t one of them.”
His job as council leader could still be at risk because the Tory group will have a vote to say who their leader should be.
It was dismay for the Independents – who lost five of their 12 seats – but there was a small consolation prize for UKIP as the party bagged two seats after fielding 11 candidates.
Pub landlord Pete Williams was victorious for UKIP in Spalding St Paul’s and fellow candidate Paul Foyster gained one of the three seats in Holbeach Town Ward.
UKIP county councillor Richard Fairman failed in his bid to unseat Coun Porter – coming third in the two-seat St Mary’s ward.
Spalding businessman Harry Drury gained the other St Mary’s ward seat for the Conservatives, topping the poll.
There was double delight in Long Sutton when third-time lucky Jack Tyrrell gained a stonking 2,076 votes for the Tories – topping the poll after missing out twice before – and fellow Conservative Laura Eldridge was elected with 1,922 votes at her first attempt.
The youngest candidate elected was 20-year-old Jack McLean, who secured a Tory victory in Spalding St John’s.
The Conservatives didn’t have it all their own way, with Rita Rudkin losing in Holbeach Town and Pete Williams securing a victory in a two-seat ward previously held by the Tories.
Among the “surprise” losses for the Independents were David Wilkinson in Long Sutton and Roger Perkins in Spalding St John’s.
Lone Labour candidate Voyteck Kowalewski failed to make any inroads in Moulton, Weston and Cowbit – but won the respect of politicians including Mr Hayes and Coun Porter, who were among the first to shake his hand as he left the stage where his result was announced.