Voters in East Cambs stick with Tories despite a purple tide across the East in Euro elections
PUBLISHED: 12:02 26 May 2014
Voters in East Cambridgeshire narrowly backed the Tories over a resurgent UKIP in last Thursday's European elections.
According to a breakdown of votes, the Conservatives polled 6,692 (31.8 per cent) of the 21,016 votes cast in the district compared to 6,553 votes (31.2 per cent) for Nigel Farage’s party.
The Liberal Democrats, who polled 2,303 votes (10.9 per cent), were beaten into third place by Labour, who came away with 2,552 (12.1 per cent).
There was a strong performance from the Green Party, who managed about 10 per cent of the votes cast with 2,106 ballots.
The remaining votes cast went to NO2EU (47), English Democrats (161), Christian Peoples Alliance (182), BNP (113) and An Impendence from Europe (307).
There was no stopping UKIP in neighbouring Fenland, however, as they polled 10,951 votes to the Tories 6,682. And, in Huntingdonshire, UKIP also triumphed, taking 16,765 votes to the Tories 15,335.
Across the East, it was UKIP and the Conservatives who triumphed at the expense of the Liberal Democrats who lost their eastern voice in Europe.
Each won three seats, with Richard Howitt taking one for Labour in a declaration half an hour after the polls closed across Europe.
MEPs of many parties paid tribute to Liberal Democrat Andrew Duff, who has served three terms in the European Parliament.
He claimed his party had been “clobbered” in coalition and confounded by a wave of nationalistic sentiment across the country.
Patrick O’Flynn, the top UKIP candidate for the east of England, hailed his party’s “political earthquake”, after taking more than half a million votes, ahead of the Conservatives’ 446,569.
The UKIP communications director added: “Voters in the east, as in the rest of the UK, are concerned about open door migration, about pressure on green field land and about living standards – but they also wanted to give the other parties a bloody nose and we have to recognise UKIP was a convenient vehicle for that. We now need to convince people to stick with us.
“We need to build on our strategy, work on our vision and broaden our agenda.
“If we do that we can be confident of winning seats in parliament.”
Mr Howitt, who was re-elected as the Labour MEP in the east, said the party must acknowledge UKIP’s success but not mirror their policies.
He added: “Labour has seen a big increase in its vote in this region but we must acknowledge the concerns that UKIP has tapped into – we do not reject those concerns but we do reject the prescription offered by UKIP. We say that Farage is a mirage.”
David Campbell Bannerman, who won a seat standing for UKIP in 2009 before defecting to the Conservatives in 2012, said: “I am rather relieved and rather delighted.
“This is a right wing victory today. That is a great bellweather for the general election,” he said.
The Green Party came fourth ahead of the Liberal Democrats, narrowly missing out on a seat in Europe after missing by 1pc in 2009.
Lead candidate Rupert Read said: “To become runner up twice in row is in one way very encouraging, but in another way, very gutting. It is difficult to take.”
Across the region 36.18% of those eligible to vote turned out, ahead of a national turnout of 36%.
And across the European Union it was 43.11% – marginally ahead of the 43% registered five years ago.
Last time the elections were contested in the east, the Conservatives won three seats, UKIP two, with Labour and the Liberal Democrats getting one each.