Gloucestershire County Council Elections 2013: UKIP gains
The emergence of UKIP cost the Conservatives dearly as Gloucestershire County Council was thrown into disarray on a fascinating election night.
No party won enough seats to secure an overall majority on the authority.
The Tories, who went into election night holding a huge majority, ended up with just 23 of a possible 53 seats while the Liberal Democrats ended up with 14 and Labour increased their numbers from five to nine.
But the real story played out in the Forest of Dean where UKIP won their first ever county council seats in Gloucestershire, securing three divisions.
And elsewhere in the county, Nigel Farage’s party was splitting the traditional Tory vote, costing the Conservatives the seats which would almost certainly have assured them overall control.
As a result the council’s immediate future is far from clear with no easy way for any of the parties to form an alliance to reach the magic majority number of 27.
The Green Party finished the night with a single seat in Stroud Central, as did the People Against Bureaucracy group in Cheltenham.
There were also two independent candidates who emerged victorious: one in Mitcheldean, the other in Tewkesbury.
The Liberal Democrats made major gains in the Cotswolds, taking three seats away from the Conservatives, while Labour performed strongly in Gloucester and Stroud.
The next few days will make for interesting viewing as all of the parties try to figure out if they can make a coalition administration work.
But there are likely to be some major barriers which will need to be overcome.
The Conservatives will need to find four councillors who are willing to join them to reach the magic 27.
Meanwhile, a Liberal Democrat/Labour alliance, last seen in an administration eight years ago, would still need to find four more councillors to reach 27.
It means the power to avoid having a minority administration is likely to lie with a handful of UKIP, Green, PAB and independent councillors.
Leader of the Conservative group, Councillor Mark Hawthorne, who was re-elected on the night in the division of Quedgeley, said: “It has clearly been a difficult night. These are mid term elections which are always a challenging time for those in government but we remain the largest party on the council.”
Turnout across the county was 32 per cent with 151,250 votes cast.
UKIP's Alan Preest, who won the Lydney division, punctuated his victory with a resounding message. “Let's make it quite clear,” he said. “We are not a one-issue party.
“It's quite evident that people want a change."
You can relive the election night on the Cover It Live feed below.