Labour fight off UKIP to take Thetford West by-election
- Credit: Archant
UKIP's hot streak at Norfolk County Council elections came to a halt last night after Labour took the vote at the Thetford West by-election.
Town and district councillor Terry Jermy, who lost to UKIP by just one vote in the May 2 elections, took the seat by 1,071 votes to UKIP candidate John Newton, 900 votes.
Speaking after a tense count in which the two candidates were difficult to separate throughout, Mr Jermy said he was delighted.
'It has been a really focused campaign.
'Much more than last time with a particular focus on immigration and cuts to services.
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'The best thing about getting on to the doorstep and talking to people is hearing the issues that they have but unless you are a councillor you can't help. I'm really looking forward to getting to work to help these people out.''
UKIP's Mr Newton said it had been a hard campaign, but fought fairly.
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He said: 'I'm disappointed but it was a good campaign and we put a lot into it. I think we may have lost it through the EU migration vote but we will look at that.
'I have congratulated Terry and I wish him well.''
The election determined the only vacant seat at County Hall after the resignation of previous UKIP winner, Peter Georgiou.
Mr Georgiou quit just six weeks into the role after he admitted shoplifting and being fined for not paying duty on tobacco.
Turnout for the election was higher than expected with 2,375 taking to the polls – 24.6% of the electorate.
That figure outdid the 23.75% who voted on May 2.
Labour now have 15 seats on the county council while UKIP have 14.
The election saw a disappointing vote for the Conservative candidate Tristan Ashby. He took just 282 votes.
Danny Jeffrey, Independent, took 78 votes while Sandra Walmsley, Green Party, took 40 votes.