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Conservatives Lose Control of Maidstone After Powerful Lib Dem Showing Leaves Tories Reeling

May 24, 2014 12:32 PM

The Conservatives have lost control of Maidstone Borough Council after local people gave a massive thumbs-down to Conservative plans to allow 19,600 houses across our borough.

The Lib Dems had a brilliant night, gaining Heath ward with a thumping majority and coming within a whisker of beating the Conservatives in their former strongholds of Marden & Yalding and Staplehurst.

Across the Maidstone and the Weald constituency the Lib Dems were well in the lead, 10% ahead of the second-placed Conservatives. UKIP failed to win a single seat in the constituency while Labour support has not recovered at all since the general election in Maidstone and the Weald, still stuck in single percentage figures.

Lib Dems defended successfully in Allington, Bridge, High Street, East, North, South and Coxheath. Our vote was up substantially in Fant while in Cranbrook support was 5% up on our parliamentary vote in 2010. But it was perhaps in Marden & Yalding and Staplehurst where the rise in Lib Dem support was most evident, coming within 43 votes of snatching the former and 109 votes of winning the latter after strong campaigns.

The Conservatives looked stunned after a night of heavy losses.

"I am very proud of the campaign fought by all our candidates and activists," said Jasper Gerard, Lib Dem parliamentary campaigner. "It just shows that where we work, we win.

"I am sure Fran Wilson, our excellent group leader, will join me in thanking local people for voting so overwhelmingly for Liberal Democrats.

"Not only is this a massive rejection of the Conservative Local Plan and an endorsement of our hard-working, dedicated councillors. It also shows that where we have gone on the doorstep and explained what Liberal Democrats are achieving in government, we have won converts. The Conservatives will now be very worried about their chances of turning it round in Maidstone and the Weald for a general election less than a year away.

"As in other areas, it shows that in parts of the country where we have really active local parties Liberal Democrats can still win votes while being in government."

Vote Share in Maidstone & The Weald (2014)

Meanwhile on the council Liberal Democrats welcome three new faces to strengthen the Lib Dem team: James Willis, who won overwhelmingly in Heath Ward, beating a senior local Conservative into third place; Nicola Fissenden, who won in East Ward; and Tommy Long in North.

Dan Daley was returned (Allington), David Pickett (Bridge), Clive English (High Street), Tony Harwood (North), Derek Mortimer (South) and Brian Mortimer (Coxheath): congratulations to all. Commiserations to all our candidates who narrowly missed out, including Sir Nick Fenn (Marden & Yalding), Paulina Watson (Staplehurst) and Sam Roach (Fant) who had the toughest fights and who all came so, so close.

Liberal Democrats don't just call round at elections; they work for you all year round. If you need any help with a local problem, please contact the team.

You can view the full election results online.