Elections: Tories strengthen their grip

North Yorkshire County Council count at The Spa in Scarborough
North Yorkshire County Council count at The Spa in Scarborough

The Conservative Party strengthened its hold in the North Yorkshire County Council elections yesterday - winning seats from Labour and UKIP.

Of the 14 seats being contested across the borough yesterday (May 4) the ruling Conservative party bagged 10 as UKIP lost its only seat.

North Yorkshire County Council count at The Spa in Scarborough

North Yorkshire County Council count at The Spa in Scarborough

Labour also suffered the loss of the Woodlands division but managed to hold on to three of its seats.

Although the Green Party was just 70 votes off taking the Falsgrave and Stepney division but Labour candidate Liz Colling managed to hold off David Malone.

Labour's David Billing lost Woodlands to Conservative Andrew Jenkinson. Cllr Jenkinson said: "I'm ecstatic. I think it is the state of the country but I also think they want someone who gets their hands dirty. Hopefully they feel I have always been a doer."

The Tories kept their strong hold of eight seats and, alongside Woodlands, also gained Filey - formerly the only UKIP seat of the 14 divisions.

Labour representative John Richie checking the count along with Cllr Andrew Jenkinson outside the Spa.

Labour representative John Richie checking the count along with Cllr Andrew Jenkinson outside the Spa.

Scarborough MP Robert Goodwill he was "really pleased" for the party's elected candidates.

"The big story is the complete implosion of UKIP which sends a clear message that Conservatives under Theresa May are the only party that can be trusted at the county council and, that hopefully, the election in next five week's will show the same.

"But, of course, we can't necessarily read to much into the local election. It is about half of the turnout of the national election. I need to work very hard for the next five weeks to make a clear case. We take nothing for granted."

Steve Siddons, the leader of the Scarborough and Whitby Labour Party said that despite loosing a seat had been a good day.

North Yorkshire County Council count at The Spa in Scarborough

North Yorkshire County Council count at The Spa in Scarborough

He said: "I think we have bucked the trend nationally. We have made inroads in some wards and come very close in others.

"On the doorstep, we had a few people who said they would not vote Labour due to national politics but I think voters are able to look at what we are doing locally.

"We are not disheartened and we can take quite a lot away from today."

The story for UKIP followed the national trend as Sam Cross just lost out to retaining his Filey seat against Conservative candidate Helen Swiers with just 27 votes in it.

Mr Cross said: "I feel sorry for the people of Filey."

As with the results across the country, UKIP saw its share of the vote drop dramatically in the Scarborough area.

Mr Cross added: "People aren't rejecting UKIP, they are not supporting the Tories, they are voting for Theresa May. That's it."

Of the Independent councillors, Castle division councillor retained her sat for the third year but no other Independent counillors won a seat.

Cllr Janet Jefferson said: "My only aim is to work for the community. I'm a community person and the community has come out for me and I'm so pleased."

Yesterday's voting saw a turnout across the borough of 32.12% - an increase on 2013's 30.16%.

The lowest election turnout was in Eastfield and Osgoodby with 24.07% - which is still up slightly from 22.23% in 2013.

While the highest turnout was Scalby and the Coast with 37.69% - up from 2013 by around 3%.

For a list of all the councillors elected click here.