UKIP crash to double defeat in Rotherham

Rotherham UKIP Steve Webster

UKIP’s Brinsworth & Catcliffe by-election candidate Steve Webster

UKIP crashed to a double defeat in two Rotherham by-elections yesterday. This is of course the council that was disgraced by its multiple failure to deal with the scandal of child abuse by Pakistani-origin residents. So bad was the scandal that Whitehall commissioners were appointed to oversee with most of the council’s affairs, and every councillor had to face re-election last May, leading to the election of 14 UKIP councillors as the main local opposition to Labour.

Yet far from building on this breakthrough, the party (now under the supposedly more northern-focused leadership of Paul Nuttall) seems to be in reverse gear.

In Dinnington ward, UKIP councillor Ian Finnie (first elected when he gained the seat from Labour in 2014, then re-elected in second place as part of last year’s all-out Rotherham election) had stepped down from the council claiming ill-health and family issues.

Labour hammered UKIP in the consequent by-election.

ROTHERHAM Dinnington (Lab gain from UKIP)

VJESTICA John (Labour Party) 670
HUNTER Lee James (UKIP) 303
MIDDLETON Christopher Norman (Conservative) 238
SMITH David (Independent) 232
HART Jean (Independent) 180
SCOTT Steven (Independent) 81
FOULSTONE Charles David Dowsing (Green) 78
THORNLEY Stephen James (Liberal Democrats) 75

The other by-election was in Brinsworth & Catcliffe ward, where the infamous Cllr John Gamble (later of the NF and EFP) was elected for the BNP in 2008.  This ward went two Labour, one UKIP at last year’s elections.  One of the (White) Labour councillors was forced to resign before Christmas after being found guilty of a sexual assault – nothing to do with kids this time: he ‘groped’ a female colleague at an official function.  We assume alcohol was involved.

One might have thought this situation was made for UKIP, but again they polled very badly.  Surprisingly the Lib Dem won by a landslide: apparently he’s a well known local doctor and they did one of those typical intensive Lib Dem local campaigns.  Labour didn’t help themselves by putting up a (female) Asian candidate in a 90% White ward!  Fair enough, she had won the ward in 2012 (when the main opposition was the BNP, who were damaged by the Gamble fiasco and generally dying).  But in 2016 she was the one out of three Labour candidates who didn’t get in: UKIP beat her to get the third spot.  I assume she will now retire from politics…

ROTHERHAM Brinsworth and Catcliffe (Lib Dem gain from Lab)

CARTER Adam Jonathon (Liberal Democrats) 2,000
AHMED Shabana (Labour Party) 519
WEBSTER Steven (UKIP) 389
OLIVER John Lester (Conservative) 91
WHYMAN Rebecca Louise (Green Party) 30

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