Elated UKIP members toasted their two North Norfolk seats with champagne, served in pink plastic glasses, at the count in Cromer Academy’s sports hall yesterday.

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For businessman Michael Baker, who wrested the Holt seat for UKIP from the Conservatives, it was another step towards his goal of getting to Westminster by beating North Norfolk’s Lib Dem MP Norman Lamb in the 2015 general election.

Mr Baker, who is also a member of North Norfolk District Council, knocked his Conservative rival, the party’s one-time North Norfolk parliamentary agent Helen Eales. into second place.

Holt had been a key target for UKIP whose leader, Nigel Farage, visited the town to back Mr Baker during the campaign.

But the party’s success in Melton Constable had not been predicted. David Ramsbotham, a prominent anti-wind turbine campaigner, ousted Conservative Russell Wright from the seat and said afterwards that it was a historic day for UKIP which could change the face of British politics.

Mr Baker said while some UKIP votes were a protest against the coalition government, the majority had been in support of the party’s policies.

And he pledged that he and fellow UKIP county councillors would listen to the wishes of Norfolk people.

Stuart Agnew, UKIP MEP for the East, who was at the North Norfolk count, was delighted at the “bonus” of Melton Constable on top of the party’s anticipated Holt triumph. He added: “This will be a springboard to Westminster.”

Conservative party spokesman Rhodri Oliver said he was not downhearted at the loss of two seats to UKIP. The North Norfolk party emerged with four county councillors.

And, despite being unsuccessful in his own bid to win Sheringham from Lib Dem Brian Hannah, Mr Oliver, who would also like to be an MP one day, said he was pleased at finishing second.

He said: “Nationally we are at that mid-term point where people are prepared to vote for other parties but I think they will come back and vote Conservative in 2015.”

Conservative Wyndham Northam, a one-time county council chairman, managed to take Mundesley from the Lib Dems whose 2009 winner, Graham Jones, had resigned from the party and was standing as an independent.

County council cabinet member Nigel Dixon beat off a UKIP challenge from Michael Baker’s son Duncan to retain his Hoveton and Stalham seat. And Conservative Tom Fitzpatrick, leader of North Norfolk District Council, will now add county council duties to his workload after winning Fakenham. In 2009 the seat was won by David Callaby for the Lib Dems. He later became a Conservative but did not seek re-election. Hilary Cox retained Cromer for the Conservatives.

Former EDP reporter Ed Foss held on to North Walsham East for the Lib Dems, one of five North Norfolk seats won by the party.

Mr Foss paid tribute to the high reputation of his predecessor Paul Morse, who has stepped down after eight years, for helping him to victory.

Fellow Lib Dem Marie Strong, who has kept her Wells seat, is expected to become the party’s group leader on the county council and said she would be putting looked-after children and mature residents at the top of her agenda.

The Lib Dems were also relieved that David Thomas held on to South Smallburgh for them. Paul Rice had won it for the party in 2009 but he later switched allegiance and was standing as a Conservative.

Despite a hard-fought campaign, Labour failed to win any North Norfolk seats. Their best hope was in North Walsham West and Erpingham where the party’s David Spencer lost to Lib Dem John Timewell by 39 votes after a recount.

A disappointed Mr Spencer, who is self-employed, said afterwards that it had been a “David and Goliath” struggle as he had lost money when out campaigning while the Lib Dems had been backed by MP Norman Lamb and his resources.

But he added: “I think we can win next time. We’ve exploded the myth put out by Norman Lamb that a vote for Labour here is wasted.”

The Green Party, which fielded candidates for all the seats, fared best in Holt where Martin Langsdon gained 204 votes but still finished at the bottom of the poll.

Three independents stood in two seats but failed to rock any boats.

8 comments

  • Nuclear power and coal fired power stations are only a "preference" in the absence of any realistic shortmedium term alternative. Sad but unfortunately true.

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    The man on the Clapham Omnibus

    Saturday, May 4, 2013

  • One would have thought that UKIP winning faces of trepidation, leaving yesterdays counts as winners, the saviours of British pubs, according to the BBC, would have celebrated with a great pint of real Norfolk ale, rather then ape Labours champagne socialists, but now that the election is over, reality will kick in.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Saturday, May 4, 2013

  • Callum, whilst I don't like UKIP's stance on renewable energy and their preference for nuclear power I do understand why people have voted for them. The mainstream political parties lack of accountability to the electorate and the very real concerns about Europe, immigration and the ECHR have all played a part in the success that UKIP is now enjoying. Unfortunately, it would appear that the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats have not taken these issues seriously or done anything to convince a sizeable amount of the population that they are listening. In these circumstances UKIP at least appears to addressing some of the Taboo subjects that the others are either unable or unwilling to address?

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    Douglas McCoy

    Saturday, May 4, 2013

  • David Ramsbothams success in Melton Constale was hardly unexpected, unfortunately.....

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    Callum Ringer

    Saturday, May 4, 2013

  • Callum,the reality of politics at a local level is that the candidates and those voted into power will always follow the party line even if this isn't what they may personally want to do. This is why politicians say one thing prior to an election and do something quite different afterwards. It is something that has contributed to the electorate becoming apathetic and disillusioned in politics in general and is reflected in the low turnouts at local and general elections. UKIP has garnered support because the other parties have not addressed the things which matter to the average voter and God knows they have had long enough to do so! Whilst on a personal level I believe that you would have been a good councillor for the Melton Constable Ward it is Labour's lack of credibility as a political party that has been the issue and not you personally! UKIP may or may not be a genuine force to be reckoned with in British politics within the next few years but they are speaking aloud and clearly about what matters to people. It is something which seems to me to have been absent in British politics for a long time now!

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    Douglas McCoy

    Saturday, May 4, 2013

  • One would have thought that UKIP winning faces of trepidation, leaving yesterdays counts as winners, the saviours of British pubs, according to the BBC, would have celebrated with a great pint of real Norfolk ale, rather then ape Labours champagne socialists, but now that the election is over, reality will kick in.

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Saturday, May 4, 2013

  • Douglas, I can understand why people have voted for UKIP, the unfortunate thing is that they campaigned solely on national issues. NCC has no say on immigration, or our position in the EU. Whilst you may be correct that UKIP are talking about things other parties are avoiding, UKIP are also doing well at avoiding talking about any plans for what they want to do for our county council.

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    Callum Ringer

    Saturday, May 4, 2013

  • Whilst many of those elected never did talk about local issues, indeed never talked to any voters whatsoever in the case of Cllr. Gillick, they will now make decisions according to what they are being told by their parties, but that's too much to grasp for voters in one weekend.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Sunday, May 5, 2013

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