Ipswich: Labour wins two Tory seats after the town goes to the polls for borough council election
- Credit: Archant
Both Labour and the Tories were finding positives in the borough council election results – after UKIP failed to make a breakthrough despite winning thousands of votes.
Labour won two seats from the Conservatives during the election for 17 councillors, one in each of the town’s 16 wards and a by-election in Alexandra.
Whitton and Rushmere were the two wards switching from blue to red.
But they missed two of their other targets – Stoke Park and Holywells – allowing both main parties able to claim some success.
Labour now have 35 places on the council compared to the Tories’ 10 and just three for the Liberal Democrats.
And despite big UKIP votes in some wards, including Bridge, Castle Hill and Gainsborough, they were unable to secure a council seat.
The election’s overall turnout came in at 35.34% and resulted in eight new councillors.
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Labour’s Sandra Gage (Rushmere) and Hugh Wittall (Whitton) arrived from the party’s newly-won seats, with colleagues Elango Elavalakan (St John’s), Andi Hopgood (Gainsborough), Colin Kreidewolf (Westgate), Daniel Maguire (Priory Heath) and Jane Riley (Alexandra) joining them.
The only new Conservative councillor was Eddie Phillips in Bixley.
Labour council leader David Ellesmere was upbeat at the end of a very long night.
He said: “A year out from the general election we are 11% ahead of the Conservatives and despite all the predictions we have seen no UKIP breakthrough.
“The message we have had from the doorsteps is that people like the Labour council, they think we are doing a good job and we are hoping to carry that forward in the general election next year.”
While Labour won Whitton and Rushmere from the Conservatives, it missed out on winning the last Tory seat in Stoke Park and had hoped to take the Holywells seat.
Ipswich MP Ben Gummer, who is defending the seat for the Tories next year, was also in buoyant mood.
He said: “Part of Stoke Park is my bellweather area – if we win that we win the seat and we did very well there.
“I don’t take too much from council elections to the general election when the turnout will be much higher, but this gives great heart to the party supporters.”
For the Liberal Democrats it was a miserable night in Ipswich – unless your name is Inga Lockington.
She held on to her St Margaret’s seat with the largest single vote – but elsewhere the party finished bottom everywhere, below the Greens.
She said: “It was very different this year to what it was when I last fought the seat in 2010. Times are tough, but we can do well when people see we do a good job for them.”
IBC Elected Councillors
Alexandra Ward: John Cook (Labour) and Jane Riley (Lab)
Bixley Ward: Edward Phillips (Conservative)
Bridge Ward: Jim Powell (Lab)
Castle Hill Ward: Christopher Stewart (Con)
Gainsborough Ward: Andi Hopgood (Lab)
Gipping Ward: Jeanette Macartney (Lab)
Holywells Ward: George Debman (Con)
Priory Heath Ward: Daniel Maguire (Lab)
Rushmere Ward: Sandra Gage (Lab)
Sprites Ward: Hamil Clarke (Lab)
St John’s Ward: Elango Elavalakan (Lab)
St Margaret’s Ward: Inga Lockington (Liberal Democrat)
Stoke Park Ward: Nadia Cenci (Con)
Westgate Ward: Colin Kreidewolf (Lab)
Whitehouse Ward: Colin Wright (Lab)
Whitton Ward: Hugh Whittall (Lab)
Missed our live coverage? Click here to see how the election unfolded, as covered by our local government correspondent Paul Geater.