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CHERWELL ELECTIONS: Labour gain is ‘no big deal’ to Tories
CONSERVATIVE Cherwell District Council leader Barry Wood said the UK Independence Party ate into its vote as the Tories lost two seats to Labour.
Yet he said he was “very pleased” with the overall result, which saw the party slip from 41 to 40 seats, retaining control of the 50-seat council.
In Banbury Grimsbury and Castle, Tory votes fell from 1,694 in 2010, to 574 this year.
- Labour’s Claire Bell enjoys victory in the Banbury Grimsbury and Castle seat
Labour’s Claire Bell took 950 of the votes compared to 1,176 last time round.
She said: “A lot of people came out because they were concerned about the UKIP vote.”
No UKIP candidates fought seats in 2010 but the party this year got 507 votes in the ward and 363 in Banbury Neithrop, which also fell to Labour.
Mr Wood said: “We lost a couple of seats in Banbury because it is mid-term and there are parts of Banbury that swing, we would expect that.”
He said two seats are “no big deal” adding: “I think UKIP has taken votes from Conservatives.
“The bottom line here is they gained no seats. This is the same day as the European Parliament election. They have peaked.”
Tony Mepham, who lost for the Tories in Banbury Grimsbury and Castle, said: “I think it is a large protest vote that went UKIP’s way.”
Last year, Labour won all four Oxfordshire County Council Banbury seats compared to the five held by Conservatives at the previous 2009 poll, before ward boundaries changed.
The only other seat that changed parties was Kidlington South, which the Tories picked up from the Liberal Democrats.
In 2010 the Lib Dems polled 2,226 and the Conservatives 1,984, but this fell to 596 and 930 respectively, with UKIP winning 520 votes this year.
Mr Wood said: “We can effectively predict Nicola Blackwood will be returned as the MP for Oxford West and Abingdon next year”.
Conservative Miss Blackwood won 23,906 votes to Lib Dem Evan Harris’s 23,730 at 2010’s General Election.
- Lib Dems’ Kidlington South candidate Joe Claxton with agent Neil Fawcett
Neil Fawcett, agent for Kidlington South Lib Dem candidate Joe Claxton, replacing party leader Tim Emptage, said: “We are disappointed to lose a seat but it is a better result in Kidlington South than we got in 2012.”
He said: “Oxford West and Abingdon will be a very close fight between the two of us. If the Tories are complacent, they may well come a cropper.”
Dickie Bird, who led UKIP’s campaign and lost to Tory James Macnamara in The Astons & Heyfords, said the paty had not benefited from a “protest vote”.
He said: “We are disappointed but there is still a big grin on our face and you have not heard the last of us.”
Labour group leader Sean Woodcock said: “We are very, very pleased.
“We have shown that Labour is the alternative to the two right-wing parties in Banbury.”
The turnout was 36.82 per cent.
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