UKIP in Eastleigh: Party wins council seats in town where Chris Huhne was MP

UKIP also won its first ever seat on Dorset County Council

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UKIP has won its first ever seats on Hampshire County Council - including two in disgraced former MP Chris Huhne's town of Eastleigh.

The party won 10 seats, but the Conservatives have retained control with 45 out of 78 councillors.

The Tories had 51 seats before Thursday's vote, while the Liberal Democrats slipped from 24 to 17.

Labour's seats increased from one to four, while two independent councillors were also elected.

Former cabinet minister Mr Huhne, a Lib Dem, was jailed in March for perverting the course of justice, and his party lost both Eastleigh council seats to UKIP.

'Out of touch'

One of UKIP's gains was in South Waterside where Philip Fawkes, a distant relative of Guy Fawkes, was elected.

A 15th Century ancestor of the retired head teacher was the great-great-grandfather of the the failed 1605 Gunpowder Plot ringleader.

When Mr Fawkes' candidacy was announced, party leader Nigel Farage said it showed "the blood of rebellion still runs in his veins".

Analysis

It's been an historic night in the local elections - with UKIP winning its first seats on county councils in the south.

As soon as the votes came tumbling out of the ballot boxes in Hampshire it became clear that it was going to be a tough night for the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats.

Labour gained three seats - but it was UKIP's supporters who had the biggest smiles. They started the night with no seats on the county council - but they ended up with 10.

Across Hampshire, there were losses for the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives - but the Tories retain control of the county council.

One senior Conservative MP says the UKIP surge should prompt the prime minister to deliver stronger policies on immigration and Europe.

Conservative Alexis McEvoy criticised her own party's national leadership after losing her South Waterside seat to Mr Fawkes.

She said Tory leaders "choose not to listen to what the public are saying", which boosted the UKIP vote.

"I hope the government will listen because they never do," she added.

'Shell shocked'

"They're arrogant, out of touch and because of them good councillors have now been lost."

Andy Moore, 53, who won Eastleigh East for UKIP, said: "We have told the truth. We have listened to the public who have put us in these positions as councillors."

Martin Lyon, 47, who took nearby Bishopstoke and Fair Oak for UKIP, added: "I'm just shell shocked.

"It's all about the people on the ground. There have been a lot of people who have put the work in over five to 10 years in Eastleigh."

Lib Dem Sandra Gidley, who lost to Conservative Roy Perry in Romsey Extra, said she was disappointed but her stronger feeling was one of concern about the gains made by UKIP.

"It's a protest vote, it's a dangerous one; nobody knows what that party stands for," she said.

"It's now down to all politicians to try and reconnect with the public because what was clear to me is that the public have lost faith in all of us from all parties; that's why UKIP did well, not because they have anything to offer."

Voting was also held on the Isle of Wight on Thursday and counting began at 09:00 BST.

VOTE 2013
Party English Councils Councillors
Total Change +/- Total Change +/-
CON 18 -10 1116 -335
LAB 3 2 538 291
LD 0 0 352 -124
UKIP 0 0 147 139
GRN 0 0 22 5
OTH 0 0 187 24
NOC 13 8 N/A N/A

After 34 of 34 councils declared

All results for England & Wales

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