Swindon remains Conservative bastion

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: CELEBRATING Council leader Rod Bluh                 CELEBRATING Council leader Rod Bluh

THE Conservatives maintained their vice-like grip on Swindon Council at last night's local elections.

A gain in the Labour stronghold of Parks was the highlight of another impressive set of election results, despite the party losing the seat in Central ward.

Conservative leader Rod Bluh described the win as "historic".

He said: "It's been a brilliant night, really strong results.

"We have seen an increased majority in our wards whereas there has been a reduced majority in the Labour wards.

"Taking Parks is a tremendous and an historic win. Graham Cherry has run an excellent campaign and it's thank to his hard work and that of Claire Ellis that we have secured this historic win."

Robert Buckland, the Conservative parliamentary candidate for South Swindon, was equally delighted his party picked up the seat vacated by Barrie Thompson.

He said: "This shows the people of Parks are not Labour people. They are not our people. They are just people."

There was also a record win for Dale Heenan in Covingham and Nythe.

Coun Heenan picked up 1,362 of the votes in his ward and said it did not reflect on the Labour group.

He said: "This is a damning verdict of the leadership of Kevin Small .

"In Covingham it shows that the action we have taken on issues such as speed humps and recycling was pretty decisive.

"We promised action and we delivered."

Labour leader Kevin Small said he was surprised to lose his party's seat in Parks but delighted to pick up the seat in Central ward courtesy of Junab Ali.

He said: "Obviously it's bitterly disappointing to lose Parks, but I think that in a fair fight you can see from the results of Stephen Allsop that we would have won it.

"UKIP only put up one candidate so a lot of their second votes went to the Conservatives.

"I think without that we would have done a lot better.

"Overall, we have done well, we have taken Central ward from the Conservatives and when you look at the national opinion polls where you can see Labour is not doing so good, I think we have done very well."

Stan Pajak saw his party maintain the status quo.

He said: "The excellent results, more than 50 per cent of the vote. It's a reflection of the hard work we have done, gives us the result we wanted.

"We know what we have to do on a larger scale but we just need to turn the work we are doing on the streets into results.

"There is a black and white situation between the Conservatives and Labour, which we need to challenge."

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