Shock Result in Eastleigh:Updated

In the local elections Eastleigh’s ruling Liberal Democrats and their Conservative opposition have managed to hold on to all their seats after anticipated gains by an invigorated Ukip failed to materialise.

Only 15 of the 45 seats were contested this year, so there was no prospect of a change of overall control of the Borough Council, but with Ukip making progress in the opinion polls there was a real chance that some of the seats would change hands and alter the dynamics of the Borough Council. In the event that didn’t happen.

All of the seats that were contested were retained by the parties that currently held them.

Expectations of a breakthrough for Ukip had been high following last year’s impressive performance in the by –election when Ukip candidate Diane James took 27% of the vote to finish a close second to Lib Dem Mike Thornton

Ukip’s momentum had carried through to the county council elections in May when they won 33% of the vote; snatching three of Eastleigh’s seven divisions from the Lib Dems.

But the results on Thursday night showed Ukip’s support in the borough had eased to 25% leaving them empty-handed runners up, despite predictions that up to five seats would fall to them.

The 25% share was in line with Ukip’s national share in the local elections and was boosted by the euro-elections where opinion polls give Ukip a commanding 30% share.

In the end though, Eastleigh’s ruling Lib Dems held on, polling almost as many votes as the Conservatives and Ukip combined.

The Lib Dems had 44%, Ukip 25%, Conservatives 20% and Labour 10%.

This was broadly in line with a recent poll by survation in Eastleigh, which predicted Lib Dems would win the borough election with 39%, Ukip 27% Conservatives 23% and Labour 9%.

The same poll has also predicted Ukip would win here in 2015 but on a tight margin with Ukip on 32%, Conservatives 28%, Lib Dems 27% and Labour 12%.

Under a system of proportional representation the 8,000 votes Ukip had polled in the 15 contested seats on Thursday would have been enough to give them three seats in the chamber but under the ‘first past the post’ system the composition of Eastleigh Borough Council remains unchanged at 40 Liberal Democrats to 4 Conservatives.

Ukip also failed to win in any seats in Southampton or Winchester and just one seat in Fareham but in Portsmouth it was a different picture where they picked up six seats placing the council in no overall control.

Ukip leader Nigel Farage had been well received at a rally there last month (although there were protestors outside).

Nationally it was Labour’s night – they won an extra 338 seats and gained control of a further six councils.

Ukip also did very well going from just two council seats to 163 but did not win control of any councils.

Coalition partners the Conservatives and the Lib Dems lost over 500 seats between them and lost control of a combined total of 13 councils.

The Liberal Democrats now control just five other councils apart from Eastleigh.

The atmosphere at Fleming Park on Thursday had been very tense heightened by an interminable delay to the start of the local count due to verification of the Euro papers that had to take place first.

Counting did not get underway until 3 am and some candidates who had to work in the morning had given up and left.

There were complaints from both The Conservatives over the delay and Ukip Chair Glynn Davies-Dear wondered how tired staff could be expected to count accurately at such a late hour.

Davies-Dear claimed it was “the worst organised Borough count in 30 years”.

Council Officers said that the physical size of the Euro Ballot papers had made handling them time consuming.

The results, once they started to be declared, came thick and fast and as each seat fell to the Lib Dems it was clearly a case of ‘business as usual”.

Ukip had said they expected wins Senior council officers said they expected Ukip wins, press reporters they expected Ukip even the normally bullish Lib Dem Leader Keith House said he was expecting a Ukip win so the relief experienced by returning Liberal Democrat and Conservative candidates was only matched the looks of disappoint etched on th efface of the Ukip contingent who largely melted away into the night.

Ukip were second in many wards, none more so than in Eastleigh South where 15 votes separated sitting Lib Dem Steven Sollitt from Ukip’s Jim Saunders (who had pushed Labour’s 2012 runner up Pete Luffman into third).

There was going to be a recount but the discovery of some hidden ballot papers increased the e winning margin to 84 votes.

Steven Sollitt’s Mum, Mo also held on to her Eastleigh North seat where she faced a challenge from Ukip chair Glynn Davies-Dear.

This was probably Ukip’s best chance of the night as Conservatives were not standing and former mayor Davies-Dear had previously represented the ward as a Liber al democrat but he could only manage second.

This is the second time Glynn Davies-Dear and Andy Moore have failed to recapture the ELAC seats they formerly held as Lib Dems although Andy Moore ousted former Lib Dem colleague Chris Thomas as County Councillor for Eastleigh East last year.

No one was more relieved by the results then Lib Dem Council Leader Keith House who had faced a challenge in his own ward of Wildern from Ukip’r Pete House who had stood under his middle name of John on the ballot paper thereby placing higher than the Lib Dem– a tactic which Cllr House described as a ‘dirty trick’ to BBC reporter Matt Treacey – but despite rumours of an upset, Keith House comfortably held onto to his seat.

House (Keith) told Eastleigh News that the nights result showed the ‘Ukip bubble had burst in Eastleigh’ .

Despite the disappoint for Ukip, their County Councillor for Bishopstoke and Fair Oak Martin Lyons said he was pleased with the progress Ukip had made since the 2012 Local elections where they finished last – this time round they had stood in every seat and finished second in the majority.

He denied that the ‘Ukip bubble’ had burst in Eastleigh, on the contrary “It’s getting bigger,” he said.

One person smiling broadly was MP Mike Thornton who said he believed his prospects of holding on to his seat in 2015 boded well.

Eastleigh is still a target seat for Ukip in 2015 but if Ukip Leader Nigel Farage was looking to stand in Hampshire then Mike Hancock’s Portsmouth South seat is looking like a better prospect.

Prior to Thursday’s Poll Keith House had told Eastleigh News that he believed the Lib Dems could beat Farage in Eastleigh as he would polarise the electorate and the Lib Dems would mop up anti-Farage Conservative and Labour votes.

Only the count for the Borough election was completed on Thursday evening. Further counts take place today, for the Parish Council elections and the EU elections.

Ukip are still expected to dominate the Euro elections and Eastleigh News will be tweeting live from the declaration for the South East region that is taking place at Southampton guildhall tonight.

The event is expected to be attended by Nigel Farage

 

 

The full results of the Borough election can be found here,  but the successful candidates were;

Botley: Angel Myerscough (Lib Dem)

Bursledon & Old Netley: Jane Rich (Lib Dem)

Chandlers Ford East: Pam Holden-Brown (Lib Dem)

Chandlers Ford West: Alan Broadhurst (Lib Dem)

Eastleigh Central: Wayne Irish (Lib Dem)

Eastleigh North: Maureen  Sollitt (Lib Dem)

Eastleigh South: Steve Sollitt (Lib Dem)

Fair Oak & Horton Heath: Desmond Scott (Lib Dem)

Hedge End Grange Park: Louise Bloom (Lib Dem)

Hedge End St Johns: Margaret Allingham (Lib Dem)

Hedge End Wildern: Keith House (Lib Dem)

Hiltingbury East:  Margaret Atkinson (Conservative)

Hiltingbury West: Judith Grajewski (Conservative)

West End North: Bruce Tennent (Lib Dem)

West End South: Daniel Clarke (Lib Dem)

The full election results are now available here on the Eastleigh Borough Council website.  One seat, Hedge End St Johns is shown as being gained from an Independent. This was the seat formerly held by Peter Hughes, who was elected as  Liberal Democrat in 2010.

Additional reporting: Stephen Slominski

  27 comments for “Shock Result in Eastleigh:Updated

  1. Stuart
    May 23, 2014 at 7:41 am

    and all done with their customary unabashed and shameless duplicity. one Lib dem leaflet told me they’d saved stoneham park!!!

  2. Jayne
    May 23, 2014 at 7:46 am

    Not really a shock now is it?

  3. Michale O'Donoghue
    May 23, 2014 at 8:26 am

    Well, first of all, a big thank you to all those Hedge End voters who supported my party and pushed me from 4th place 4 years ago to second place today!

    Everyone can now see the numbers, but UKIP moving from 4% of the vote last time these seats were contested in 2010 to 26% in 2014 speaks for itself – plus of course – the drop in support for the Lib Dems from 51% to 43% is also huge.
    UKIP came second in 10 of the 15 seats, and third in the other 5 – and this on top of the intense vitriolic smears, lies, and offensive allegations of everything from homophobia to sexism and racism!
    I look forward to reading the next standpoint to see who the Libs think is the “2 horse race”!!! Michale

  4. Stu
    May 23, 2014 at 8:28 am

    Disregarding party politics, people like Wayne Irish have been contributing to local government for over 30 years. He’s the one person I see time and time again at local events, going door to door and talking to the community (not just at election time), and even standing outside my children’s school petitioning for the lollipop man to be re-instated. That’s why I voted for him and I would have voted for HIM regardless of his political party. No. I’m not really shocked either.

    • Stuart
      May 23, 2014 at 9:14 am

      I think there’s an element of truth in what you say – For someone else from another party to break into Eastleigh Council, the prospective candidate would need to work at it all year round and have the money and resources and time to devote to it. Anyone with a f/t job and family commitments would struggle to do that – it’s much easier if you’re already a sitting councillor to be known and seen at events etc.
      Yes, EBC is much better run than some other councils not so far away..but I worry about the lack of opposition and also the number of very dodgy claims they make in their literature. How can they claim to save Stoneham park when it was THEIR plan to build on it? No doubt they have some slippery explanation that exonerates them. Likewise wanting to give a massive chunk of our recreation ground to Sainsburys.

      • Dan Brain
        May 23, 2014 at 10:44 pm

        I agree, too much of politics is focused on the party and sadly too many people think that way in voting rather than looking at the individuals standing. Ultimately its the person that will make all the difference regardless of party alignment. It helps a lot being elected but its a good test of charactor getting there. You can’t just turn up one day, say a few things and expect to win. Its action that counts. You don’t need lots of money either just a passion to serve the community, and a willingness to take initiative and listen. The real cost is your time if your willing to make a few sacrificies but if you enjoy what your doing thats no hardship. Thats my view anyway. We will see how that pans out next year or even the year after that!

        • R Douglas
          June 11, 2014 at 7:42 am

          So which Party are you standing under, Dan?

  5. Sue
    May 23, 2014 at 8:45 am

    Ray are the actual numbers of votes posted anywhere?

  6. J Seymour
    May 23, 2014 at 9:12 am

    Funny how there is no mention of Proportional Representation any more from this nationally semi moribund group. But hey – what’s a pledge anyway?

    • May 24, 2014 at 9:37 am

      PR’s a bit of a dilemma for Lib Dems where they are dominant on the council. Undoubtedly it would help them get more councillors elsewhere, but if Eastleigh was proportionate to the popular vote on Thursday the council would look something like:
      Lib Dems 19
      UKIP 11
      Conservative 9
      Labour 5.
      I wonder who the Lib Dems would choose to work with in that scenario.

      • May 24, 2014 at 2:45 pm

        That would be quite a healthy balance on EBC Keith.

        Much more representative of the opinions across the Borough…!

  7. Stuart
    May 23, 2014 at 9:20 am

    I had to laugh last time round when the lib dems were busy attacking the conservatives at county for building new council offices….and then shortly after, guess what started being built in Eastleigh? you guessed it…new council offices!

  8. Rosie
    May 23, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    Disppointing that we will still have the “group think” Lib Dems running the Council with too little opposition (and no gumption amongst any of them to stand up to their Leader). I think, though, that instead of being smug about the results, the Lib Dems need to look at the fact that about two thirds of voters didn’t want the Lib Dems to get the seat in their area and are sick and tired of getting constant Lib Dem “newsletters” through the door (with the same misleading – or worse! – messages again and again). Also, many former Lib Dem voters are switching to other parties and haven’t yet got a concensus of which party should replace the Lib Dems. Plus there are an awful lot of local people who don’t bother to vote and you can hear them in local shops etc saying “there’s no point, they’ll get in anyway” and “they never listen to us”. Hardly surprising that so many long-term Borough residents are choosing to move out of the EBC Council area, especially where the Lib Dems are destroying our best countryside! But, hey ho, once the Lib Dems have built all their new houses on our ancient meadows and they and private landlords have filled the new houses with mostly social housing tenants, perhaps they might start to wonder where the EBC Council income will come from in the future when many of the full Council tax payers have moved out of the Borough …. but then they’ll just build another hotel or other unnecessary scheme with public money, won’t they!

  9. steve
    May 23, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    Shocking in that hardly anyone bothered to vote, how can th elib dems claim to have any mandate at all! And yesterday at polling was the first and only time I have seen Des Scott! None of the other parties seemed bothered to challenge him in any meaningful way either. Democracy my ar@e!

  10. T.P
    May 23, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    I voted Ukip this time and will next time. Just keep the ball rolling!
    Agree with comments on the Lib Dem propaganda.

  11. May 23, 2014 at 6:46 pm

    Hardly a burst bubble, Mr House. In many of the wards, UKIP were breathing right down the LibDem neck.

  12. Eastleigh resident
    May 23, 2014 at 10:18 pm

    The big failure of UKIP was they targeted all seats. Wrong. If they had targeted one or two seats they would have got one!

  13. Keith House
    May 23, 2014 at 10:23 pm

    A note of clarity on the organisation of the count: the verification of the European ballots required liaison with the Returning Officer in Southampton. This was much quicker than five years ago when the last EU elections were held. This time too there were Parish ballots to verify in seven elections. The staff did well in the circumstances. Former Cllr Davies-Dear’s comments forget history.
    For the Lib Dems, we were honored to be rewarded by residents again to win in 13 of the 15 wards, well and truly bursting UKIP’s bubble. Turnout was higher than many local elections too, which is a good sign for the health of local democracy.

    • May 23, 2014 at 10:32 pm

      OK. Thanks for that Keith.
      I was also impressed with the turnout. Well done Eastleigh…!

  14. wavatar
    Eastleigh Xpress
    May 24, 2014 at 3:03 am

    Well done Martin for stepping up to the plate, many thanks for that.

  15. R Douglas
    May 24, 2014 at 10:44 am

    Smug, arrogant, patronising Lib Dems. Lynne Featherstone (Question Time last week) hit it on the head when she said ‘we are not listening to the British public’. Let’s amend that for the local Lib Dems – you are not listening to residents. Hedge End and other EB councils are crippled with elderly, inert Town Councillors without an original idea in their head. They are dictated to by their Leader and no-one is strong enough, or willing to lose their allowances, to stand up for local residents. One party ruling the roost in Eastleigh does not represent democracy or the people who live within it.

    • May 24, 2014 at 12:07 pm

      Yes. If you add up the votes, you will see that there was a lot of people who didn’t vote Lib Dem.

      The support for the LIb Dems is not as wide-ranging as they would like us to believe and it is certainly not reflected in the number of seats that they hold.

      As somebody else mentioned in a comment, Lib Dems have gone very quiet about proportional representation. Certainly at local level…!

  16. Pete Stewart
    May 25, 2014 at 8:45 pm

    Predictions, predictions! Pointless if based on “intuition”.

    Statistical polls are all that matter and the only one in Eastleigh was the Survation poll which correctly predicted the LibDems would win.

    However it’s interesting that it also predicted Eastleigh would get a UKIP MP next year.

    Meanwhile UKIP continues to grow in Eastleigh and behind the scenes, UKIP has moved up from 4th to 2nd place. That is the real success of the night.

    • wavatar
      Eastleigh Xpress
      May 26, 2014 at 3:05 am

      Well if you remember Pete, it wasn’t us doing the predicting!

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