ONCE the full results of Thursday’s local election was in, it was the Conservative Party who were celebrating while the Labour Party were left wondering how to counter a new threat.
A plan to potentially take control of the council came undone with the emergence of UKIP, who took votes from all parties to come second in a number of wards.
In fact, the only significant changing of hands was in Covingham and Dorcan where the Conservatives took the Labour seat.
It was a result which increased the Tory majority in the council, giving them a total of 30 seats, compared with 23 Labour and four Liberal Democrats.
“Not only have we increased our majority at council but with have also increased out votes in a number of wards.
“We are obviously a little disappointed to not to be able to take Old Town but it has been a strong performance.
“I think we ran a very good, positive campaign whereas Labour were very negative and I think that turned a lot of people off.
“Swindon is often used as a barometer for the rest of country and if you look around you can see the economy improving which has helped. What we shouldn’t do though is ignore the very strong campaign we ran locally.”
The night’s other winners were UKIP who, while not winning a seat, hugely increased their percentage of the vote, coming second or third in every ward.
Local group chairman John Short believes the results bode well the for the party’s future in Swindon and the European election, which will be called on Sunday.
He said: “While we are disappointed at not taking a seat, we are delighted at our performance. We are a young party and from here we can go from strength to strength.
“We are not here for the short term and will be working hard to get councillors on at the next local election.
“I also think it shows just how well we are going to in the Local elections.”
Despite increasing the popular vote in areas of the town, Labour admitted to having a disappointing night.
Group Leader Jim Grant (Lab, Rodbourne Cheney) said: “There is obviously a feeling of disappointment. Although we had some good results, especially in Old Town where we had a good candidate, we suffered at the hands of UKIP as did all parties.
“In our core seats the Conservatives have been pushed down into third. I think this is a worrying trend because it seems people are voting UKIP on national issues and not local ones.”
“We now need to look at our policies and whether we are getting our message across to the people of Swindon.”