'Worried' Dartford Conservatives relief after staving off Labour and Ukip
PUBLISHED: 13:38 03 May 2013 | UPDATED: 13:38 03 May 2013
The political landscape in Dartford remained as blue as the Kent skies at the Kent County Council local election results this morning.
The Conservatives held onto all but one of their seats - Dartford North East, which was taken by Labour candidate Tom Maddison.
Mr Maddison gained 1,267 votes, ahead of the incumbent Cllr Avtar Sandhu, with 1,088.
Mr Maddison said: “We lost last time because of the expenses scandal, but this is a real Labour area and today’s result reflects that.”
The Swanscombe and Greenhithe Residents’ Association retained their seat after a recount.
The successful candidate Peter Harman, who gained 673 votes, replaced the incumbent Cllr Richard Lees.
This was the most hotly contested seat, with six candidates, and Conservative Keith Kelly lost by just 23 votes.
Mr Harman said: “There was some very strong opposition here. I’m delighted with the result, and hope to continue the good work carried out by my predecessor.”
Turnout in Dartford was 27 per cent overall and lowest in Swanscombe and Greenhithe at just 20.9 per cent.
Cllr Penny Cole retained the Dartford East seat for the Conservatives with 942 votes, just ahead of Labour candidate Patrick Kelly, who gained 885.
She said: “When I heard the results coming in from elsewhere I was feeling very worried, so I’m really glad to have the opportunity to continue my work in the community.
“I’m not political, I just want what’s best for people, and will continue to work closely with Stone Parish Council in particular as part of my role.”
Cllr Jeremy Kite achieved the Conservatives’ biggest win with 2,067 votes in Dartford Rural, ahead of Ukip’s Karl Smith, who gained 990.
Cllr Kite said he was frustrated that the party had lost Dartford North East, but minimally, given the national picture.
He acknowledged the influence of UKIP in today’s results, but said: “The situation is different here because people know we already do everything UKIP say they will.”
UKIP also came second in Dartford West, where candidate Jo Shippam lost with 1,112 votes to Cllr Jan Ozog, who gained 1,560.
Cllr Ozog said: “It’s been a long struggle, and I wasn’t feeling confident this morning, but the hard work has paid off.”
Cllr Ann Allen retained the Wilmington seat for the Conservatives, gaining 1,790 votes, with Ukip again coming in second place.
With 891 votes, their candidate Gary Rogers was slightly ahead of Labour’s Mark Maddison, who gained 862.