Election see gains for UKIP and Labour

By Harriet Ernstsons Friday 23 May 2014 Updated: 23/05 19:12

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UKIP have got their first ever seats on the borough council following this week's election.

The party gained two seats, while Labour took a further two leaving nine Conservatives and one independent to complete the council.

This strengthens Labour's majority to five seats - with a total of 17 of the 29 councillors.

Len Harris, UKIP acting party chairman who saw his candidates Paul Swansborough and Dave Small take seats, said: "We have now got another major force in British politics not just here in Redditch. These are the first of many seats we will win.

"If you look at what's been happening over recent years UKIP started off with a lot of really strong seconds and they have now translated into good firsts and that process is going to continue and the more good seconds we get the easier it becomes to get the firsts at the next election."

"I don't think there's any possibility of any deal between UKIP and any other parties because quite frankly they are not listening to the people we are. The people are responding to our message why should we do a deal with anybody else."

Council leader Bill Hartnett said they had fought the election on their record since taking over control in 2012 which included policies such as free swimming for under 16s and over 60s and the pre-9.30am bus pass.

"Thanks for the vote of confidence and the endorsement you have given us through the ballot box.

"We intend to now push on with our jobs and skills policy, including getting work experience for students and helping to create new jobs in the Eastern Gateway."

He welcomed returning councillors Andy Fry, Wanda King and Debbie Taylor as well as new successful candidates Natalie Brookes, former mayor John Witherspoon and Rachael Smith.

In the Conservative party, Jane Potter and Redditch chairman David Thain returned to politics after losing their county council seats in 2013 while Gay Hopkins was the only candidate to be re-elected.

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