THE UK Independence Party enjoyed a stunning breakthrough in South Yorkshire today after securing 10 seats on Rotherham Council.
Ukip’s scalps included deputy council leader Jahangir Akhtar and Richard Russell, cabinet member for waste.
Overall, Ukip won 22 new seats on Yorkshire councils and successfull defended a further four.
Ukip’s success in Rotherham is a significant blow to Labour in its South Yorkshire heartland in a district where prior to last night the party held 57 of the council’s 63 seats.
And their success will offer Ukip evidence to support their assertion that they are as much of a threat to Labour in the North as to the Conservatives in South.
On the night, Ukip held the Rawmarsh ward it picked up in a by-election last year and added nine more seats, seven taken from Labour and two from the Conservatives.
Ukip received huge backing in the campaign from millionaire Yorkshire businessman Paul Sykes who bankrolled the party’s controversial billboard campaign which prompted accusations of racism from its opponents.
Ukip’s Rotherham branch chairman and councillor for the Rawmarsh ward, Cavan Vines, said: “This will send shock waves. I hope the main parties take note, open their eyes and follow some of Ukips policies, get us out of Europe and get control of our borders back.
“I have been saying that Ukip needs to get its foot on the ladder and we have now got to get MPs into Westminster. We are now on the road.
“If you can break Rotherham, the rest will follow.”
Asked whether Ukip will be a long term feature of Rotherham politics, Mr Cavan said: “I would hope so, who can tell. We have go to be realistic, this could be a protest vote.
“And if it is I just hope that the major parties realise they have got it wrong and these guys have got it right. If they do that I will claim that as a victory.”
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