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Red faces for Labour as Dartford votes Blue in the elections

PUBLISHED: 13:36 06 May 2011 | UPDATED: 13:38 06 May 2011

Jeremy Kite and his fellow Conservatives were delighted to make gains while retaining control of Dartford Borough Council

Jeremy Kite and his fellow Conservatives were delighted to make gains while retaining control of Dartford Borough Council

Archant

Council leader Jeremy Kite was flying high last night as the Conservatives wrapped up a comprehensive victory in the local elections.

Nervy predictions of consolidating their position given at the start of the evening quickly turned to celebration as early indications showed Dartford residents had gone against the national swing and voted Tory.

“I am absolutely thrilled,” said Mr Kite, who retained his Longfield, New Barn and Southfleet seat comfortably. “When you do this job you wonder if the public welcome what the council is doing and this probably means they do. It is a really good day for the party.”

The Labour camp could only look on as they lost three seats to their rivals in Blue in West Hill, New Town and Stone.

A late flurry of seats, taking their total to nine, was scant consolation for Labour leader Geoffrey Proutt, who narrowly avoided further embarrassment, securing his seat in the final ward announcement by less than 150 votes.

“I am very disappointed, particularly for David Baker (former representative of New Town who lost his seat by 56 votes)

“He has been a very good councillor who has served the community well.”

He admitted this party had work to do but believed the affect of Government budget cuts would see supporters return to Labour in the coming years.

Swanscombe and Greenhithe Residents Association, which has worked with the Conservative led council as a minority partner for the past eight years, also suffered losses to their former partners.

Party leader Bryan Read said he would wait to see if the Conservatives invited his party to join them for a third session.

“It was very close, we knew it would be. Now we wait on the Conservatives. I daresay we will be contacted in the next couple of days to discuss it,” he said.

Arguably the biggest losers on the night was the English Democrat Party who put forward 24 candidates but failed to win a single start.

Stephen Uncles, one of the party’s leading candidates said: “Overall we have picked up around nine per cent of the vote, which compared with the County Council vote two years ago, when we got 22 per cent, is very disappointing. We have got ideas for taking a different tack in the future.”

The overall results were.

Conservatives 31 a swing of +5

Labour 9 -3

Swanscombe and Greenhithe 4 -2

Turnout for the local elections: 40.6 per cent

For the Alternative Vote Referendum: 41.4 per cent

For full analysis and a list of your new councillors see The Reporter May 12

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