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Election: Shock in Torridge as two UKIP candidates win

By NDJPhilippa  |  Posted: May 03, 2013

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THE Devon County Council election results this morning provided surprises for the Torridge wards with the UK Independence Party (UKIP) gaining two seats.

Torridge's five county council seats were before today all Conservative but now two have been lost to UKIP.

Sam Robinson , the former Conservative county councillor for the Bideford East ward, lost the seat to UKIP candidate Gaston Dezart, who has never been a councillor before, by 35 votes. 

After the result was announced Mr Dezart said: "I am a little bit overwhelmed, I did not expect to win. 

"I didn't produce a single leaflet in East-the-Water, I know how strong Sam was in those areas, so I am just in shock. 

"Of course I am pleased with UKIP results overall. 

"I haven't got any plans for the next four years as I didn't expect to win so I need to go away and sit down to get some ideas together to help people in Bideford."

Mr Robinson said: "I am disappointed for the people in the rural wards because I know I took the vote in the rural parishes. I have warned Gaston to look after the parishes."

He went onto say how disillusioned he is about the Conservative Party. 

He added: "I was born a Tory but the party has left me in a big way. It is when they do things like spend £80 million on an election for the police and crime commissioner that I just don't understand."

Mr Robinson said he is now going to spend more time with his family and doing work to his home and garden. 

The other Conservative seat in Torridge which was lost to UKIP was the Bideford South and Hartland seat. 

Alison Boyle lost the seat  by 150 votes to Robin Julian, who was not able to be the count himself as he was at work.  

After the results were announced Mrs Boyle said: "I wish Robin luck with his new post. I look forward to the next election and I will now be planning for that."

Mr Julian later said: "It was such a shock to hear I had won as well as to hear the results had already come in. 

"I was told they wouldn't be finished until after lunch so I was going to head down there then but it was too late. 

"I had been having very positive feedback so I was hopeful I might win. I stood for the last election and wasn't successful so people know me and I am a parish councillor in Hartland. 

"I will be fighting for the people and their rights. Serious issues for people here is concerns about immigration, wind turbines and the Atlantic Array as well as concern at services being cut."

Conservative Councillor Andy Boyd retained his seat for the Torrington Rural ward for a second term with nearly 300 votes more than UKIP candidate James Conabere.

After he was announced as the winning candidate Mr Boyd said: "I was fairly confident but I was aware of a lot of UKIP protest votes which saddens me because people should be voting on local issues not government issues.

"I want to support the local communities and just continue what I have been doing over the past four years. 

"Whether people voted for me or not I am here for people to contact."

Conservative Councillor Barry Parsons for Holsworthy Rural also retained his seat for a second term. 

He said: "I am delighted but we are seeing here what happened at Eastleigh , it is a warning to the government. 

"I have been asked a lot about turbines during the campaign and that is a district issue not a county issue. Let's focus on what Holsworthy has got going for it."

Penny Mills, the UKIP candidate for Holsworthy Rural, had the second highest number of votes with less than 400 votes behind Mr Parsons. 

She said: "It is just amazing. I have never done this before and I was going to be pleased with 500 votes so to get over 1,500 is amazing.

"It seems there has been a worrying outbreak of democracy. It has given me a taste for it so I might stand at district and county elections again in the future."

Conservative Councillor Andrew Eastman, who maintained his seat for the Northam ward by a margin of 191 votes ahead of UKIP candidate Chris Leather, said every candidate has been worried about protests votes. 

He added: "I firmly believe the government have got to sit up and listen to this. I am hopeful that people realised politics is less important than the man. 

"No I am going to focus on the issues I want to fight for like public transport in the North Devon area."

Geoffrey Cox Q.C., Conservative MP for Torridge and West Devon, has congratulated all the winning candidates at today's County Council election count in Torridge. 

He paid particular tribute to the hard work and dedication of the two Conservative County Councillors, Sam Robinson and Alison Boyle, who narrowly lost their seats in Bideford South and Hartland and Bideford East. 

Geoffrey Cox said; "Sam Robinson worked his socks off for Bideford East, earning great respect from local people, and I am extremely sad that he lost the election by a whisker. Alison Boyle too. But, apart from the winning Conservatives, Barry Parsons, Andrew Eastman and Andy Boyd, whose four years of genuine service to their communities stood them in good stead, I want to congratulate UKIP's Gaston Dezart (Bideford East) and Robin Julian  (Bideford South and Hartland) upon their success.  

"Now begins, for all of the successful candidates, the steady, relentless, patient service of their communities that elected office requires.  I wish them all well.

"Just as with Devon as a whole, these are very good results for the Conservatives in Torridge and West Devon, where 5 out of 7 of the County Wards have been held by their Conservative Councillors after the unprecedented outcome of the 2009 elections.

"Their consistent record of service and the strong and responsible administration of the County Council over the past 4 years have played their part in this success."

The overall voter turnout  in Torridge was 29.3 per cent with 17,271 votes cast from an electorate of 59,043.

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