Labour’s Thetford West by-election winner says UKIP vote is still strong

Terry Jermy, new Norfolk County Councillor for Thetford West

Terry Jermy, new Norfolk County Councillor for Thetford West - Credit: Archant

A new Labour county councillor has dismissed suggestions that UKIP's popularity is on the wane, despite his election win on Thursday.

Terry Jermy, who beat his UKIP counterpart John Newton in the Thetford West by-election, said many voters were opting for Nigel Farage's party out of anger.

Mr Newton took 900 votes at the election, an increase on the 814 his predecessor, Peter Georgiou, won the seat with on May 2.

Mr Jermy polled 1,071 votes. He said: 'You can't not acknowledge that 900 people voted for UKIP.

'There are still a lot of people who feel very angry and let down by what they feel is happening in this country. I spent a lot of time talking to people who voted UKIP and tried to persuade them that it wasn't the right option.'

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Mr Jermy had his first day at County Hall yesterday, including a meeting with the leader George Nobbs.

Although Thursday's result has no impact on the coalition set-up at the county council, it does mean Labour will be able to place more members on committees.

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Mr Jermy said schools and young people in Thetford were a priority for him. 'Knocking on doors, there was a lot of people concerned about special educational funding being taken out of Thetford and schools going into special measures.

'My passion has always been children and young people as a former youth worker and if there's a role within that area I'd like to help out,' he said.

Mr Nobbs said he was delighted to have Mr Jermy on board and insisted the balance of the coalition would not be unsettled by his win.

'Terry will be an asset to Norfolk County Council and to the people of Thetford. This will not change the relationship between the four non-Conservative parties, with whom we have a friendly and mature relationship. There are policies we disagree on, but we won't fall out over this.'

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