UKIP activists in Andover say they are ready to measure up the curtains at Test Valley Borough Council’s Beech Hurst HQ following a strong showing in the Euro-elections in Test Valley.
They want the blue to be replaced by UKIP purple following next year’s borough council elections, but despite their confidence it was the Conservatives who came first in the elections in this borough.
Just over a third (37.17 per cent) of those on the Test Valley electoral register voted and of these the Conservatives won 12,511 votes to UKIP’s 11,265 – but UKIP have the momentum.
While the Conservative vote fell back on Thursday, UKIP’s tally increased by 71 per cent in comparison with 2009, the last time the E u r o p e a n seats were contested.
For the others the poll was a disappointment with the Lib Dems taking 3,095, Labour 2,999 and the Greens 2,919 while ‘An Independence from Europe’ with 647 votes was the only one of the nine ‘others’ standing who won more than 500 votes in Test Valley.
Hampshire’s UKIP leader Cllr Ray Finch (pictured, right) was one of four party members who won a seat on the south east region as the election’s complicated system of PR unwound on Monday.
Cllr Finch said: “To win four seats in the south east was a good result and I would like to thank all the members who worked so h a r d to achieve it.
“I will be working hard as an MEP to get us out of the EU and into what we were sold 40 years ago – a free trade arrangement.”
Greens were also successful in the south east, gaining one seat, along with the solitary national representative from the Lib Dems and one Labour and three Conservatives.
In Wiltshire the Tories polled 46,306 votes to UKIP’s 40,951 – but MP Claire Perry says the UKIP upsurge may be a one-off protest vote.
She said: “The Tories share of the vote in both elections held up, but we lost superb councillors and some MEPs across the country.
“UKIP did well although many say this was a one-off vote to send the main parties a protest message – indeed UKIP election communications told voters to treat the elections as a “free hit” and people did that.”
The party hit most however was the Liberal Democrats who polled 13,260 to Labour’s 12,961.
Just 30 years ago Liberal stalwart Jack Ainslie polled more than 60,000 votes in the Wiltshire Euro election.
A Lib Dem spokesman said: “We fought a strong campaign driven by our values as a party, that at its core it is unashamedly pro- European.
“It was always going to be difficult to overcome decades of anti- European sentiment, but we do not regret it and remain proud of our principles.”