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The UKIP came in third in a local by-election in Tunbridge West behind the Tory and the LibDem candidates.

Claire Brown took one of two seats for the Pembury Ward on Tunbridge Wells Borough Council in a 13.8% swing. The UKIP candidate came third.

Ms Brown won 578 votes, Conservative Robert William 460 and UKIP candidate Victor Charles 297.

I find it encouraging that the UKIP is emerging as a major party in recent elections.  Nearly 300 votes when the winner garnered just under 600 is very respectable.  There are scheduled elections in May for the Welsh, Northern Ireland and Scottish assemblies.  This will be a test of UKIP’s rising electoral power and influence.

One more lesson:  the Tories held that seat and it looks like the UKIP is dividing the conservative vote.  It is an ominous sign for the Tories.  They better return to their euroskeptic, libertarian roots or they may be swept away ironically by the very “first past the post” electoral system they love so much.

More UKIP news:  Another key defection, a colorfully titled “Black Country Tory” (I’d like to have been a Black Country Tory in a past day…) is reported to be defecting to the UKIP:

Lyndon Jones, 46, who was chairman of the South Staffordshire Conservative Association, said …“I am passionate about this country which has been failed by the ConDem coalition which has betrayed our Armed Forces and the British people.”

Jones also said that the Coalition had “sold this country down the river.”  Sadly he’s right.  Welcome.

UPDATE:  Four more local officials have defected to UKIP and will carry the party’s banner in the local elections, reports the BBC.

Three Independents on Tendring District Council (including one husband and wife team) now intend to sit as UKIP councillors.

While on Thurrock Council a disaffected Conservative, Stuart St-Clair Haslam (who had already left the Conservative group on the council) has also decided to throw in his lot with UKIP.

One of the Tendring councilors, John Brown, wrote why he joined UKIP in the Chelmsford Weekly News:

Mr Brown said: “I am by nature an independent who believes in putting the needs of the people ahead of party politics.

“I have been a strong supporter of many of UKIP’s policies. I believe they are my natural home because they allow free thinking and their whole cause is about independence.”

Exactly right, Councilor Brown!  UKIP is a libertarian, pro-sovereignty party.  The elections are in May.  If they and other defectors can be elected, it might be the tipping point to get several MPs to make the switch.  I think the leader of that could be Steve Baker, MP, who was declared a Young Turk on this blog some time ago.  Baker has the charisma and smarts to lead a new party to new heights in the Commons.


About Elwood Sanders

Elwood "Sandy" Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia's first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)

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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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