Liberal Democrats lose out in Bristol elections

UKIP's Bristol chairman said the party was 'here to stay'

The Liberal Democrats have lost seven seats in Bristol and the city has elected its first UKIP councillor.

A third of the seats - in 24 wards - were voted on and the result leaves the council under no overall control.

Labour, the Conservatives and the Greens made gains while deputy mayor Mark Bradshaw and Lib Dem leader Tim Kent retained their seats.

What a difference a year makes for UKIP. They failed to really register with voters last time - but in the seats they contested this May, they polled strongly - taking Hengrove and coming a close second in several other wards.

The Greens also had reason to celebrate - they targeted Redland and Bishopston and were rewarded at the Lib Dems' expense. The Green voice at the council grows steadily stronger as does that of Labour who made gains in areas where the Liberal Democrat vote was soft.

Labour nose ever-closer to holding a majority which will give them more power in budget negotiations but there will be some disappointment they didn't go further in wards where they were up against the Conservatives.

It was another miserable night for the Lib Dems who just two years ago were in charge of City Hall. The end result is a council far more diverse politically than ever before.

Michael Frost became the city's first UKIP councillor, winning in Hengrove with a majority of 132.

Chair of UKIP, in Bristol, Steve Wood speaking at the count, said: "I'd like to thank the people of Hengrove, we are taking seats across all the country this evening.

"We've put up with a lot of bad press - UKIP is here to stay."

'Count a shambles'

Labour leader Helen Holland said: "It's a worry to have a UKIP councillor on the council - all the major parties agree on that."

She added the count had been "a shambles" and that it had taken until about 03:30 BST to get the first results.

She said: "It was extremely frustrating. Other councils like Swindon were done and dusted by one o'clock - it's just not good enough."

Returning officer for the election Zillah Morris said the delays were "mostly due to a higher than expected number of postal votes" including those which had "missed the postal deadline and were hand delivered instead".

She said: "The added security measures to verify postal votes did set us back, along with a couple of technical issues."

Overnight count at City Academy Votes were counted overnight at Bristol's City Academy

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