On Thursday night after the polls closed in Tunbridge Wells we made our way to the count at the Assembly Hall. Although the Parliamentary ballot was to be counted and announced on the night, for the second year running the council election wouldn’t be finalised until friday morning – something I fundamentally disagree with. When candidates have spent four nerve-wracking weeks on the doorsteps and polling day trying to get every last vote out to the ballot box, the least they deserve is to know whether they have won or lost on the night. To put them through yet another lost night’s sleep is just needless torture!
Congratulations to Greg Clark, who unsurprisingly retained his seat with a 64% increase in his majority from 9,988 in 2005 to 15,576. Despite Green, BNP and Independent candidates joining the fray alongside Labour and Liberal Democrats, Greg polled 56% of votes cast.
At Tunbridge Wells Borough Council the Conservatives ended with forty two councillors compared to the Liberal Democrats’ six. The shocks for me were the loss of two Conservative seats – Peter Davies losing his seat in Benenden and Cranbrook ward, albeit by just 173 votes, and Chris Woodward losing St John’s ward by a knife edge 62 votes.
Two new councillors also won seats – Julia Soyke winning Speldhurst and Bidborough with an impressive 1351 majority, and my good friend Alan McDermott who was such a help in last year’s county elections, taking Brenchley and Horsmonden ward with 1089 vote majority.
For the Borough Council at least, the voting is over for another year, with no real shifts in power. But although the County of Kent is now entirely Conservative at Parliamentary level, we may yet need to hold our breath as Cameron talks to Clegg, and Brown continues to camp at Downing Street.