Ukip steals ‘safe’ Labour seat in byelection

Have your say

A SEEMINGLY “safe” Labour seat on Rotherham Council has been taken by Ukip in a byelection, in what is the first time the party has won a seat from Labour.

The Rawmarsh seat had been vacated by South Yorkshire’s new Labour police and crime commissioner Shaun Wright, and his wife Lisa Marie Wright stood as the Labour candidate.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage

UKIP leader Nigel Farage

However, Ukip’s Caven Vines beat Mrs Wright by 104 votes, in what he described as a “coup.”

Councillor Vines said: “We fought a hard campaign in a staunch Labour ward and ended up taking the seat by over 100 votes, slashing the previous Labour majority of over 1,000.

“In all honesty we didn’t think we would necessarily win.”

Ukip leader Nigel Farage said his party was now “hitting Labour where it hurts, as we always said we would.”

He added: “For a long time Miliband and his party have enjoyed sitting back and watching Ukip attack Tory strongholds, but they have been far too vain to fully comprehend that Labour voters are naturally moving in our direction too.

“Our policies really talk to men and women in Labour heartlands, who are now seeing the party taking their support for granted due to the sort of majorities they were able to build up in the Blair years.”

Meanwhile, Mr Farage had to be rescued by police on Thursday after being mobbed by rowdy Scottish nationalist protesters in Edinburgh.

Staff were forced to clear the Canons’ Gait pub on the Royal Mile, where Mr Farage was due to hold a press conference near the Scottish Parliament, after it was filled with chanting crowds.

The politician attempted to make an escape by taxi, but protesters blocked its path.

Mr Farage was then forced to return to the pub, where police barricaded the doors against the protesters until officers in a riot van came to his aid.

He said: “The anger, the snarling, the shouting, the swearing was all linked in to a desire for the Union Jack to be burnt and extinguished from Scotland forever.

“There’s absolutely no doubt who these people were or what they stood for.”

A spokesman for the pro-independence campaign group Yes Scotland said: “We had no knowledge or involvement in any of the scenes on the Royal Mile during (Mr Farage’s) visit to Edinburgh.”