Local Elections: ‘Battle borough’ Havering could see big Ukip gains and a coalition, according to report
PUBLISHED: 18:17 16 May 2014 | UPDATED: 18:17 16 May 2014
Ukip is predicted to make a large gain in Havering in the local elections and it is likely that parties will have to form a coalition, according to a report.
Havering is a “battle borough” and Ukip with its 30 candidates could win up to 15 seats, according to the London Communications Agency report that studied a wealth of previous results and opinion polls.
Rival politicians are also speculating that there may be a split within the Tory party, which has seen its separate associations release distinct manifestos, but this is denied by Romford Conservative Association (RCA) chairman Cllr Osman Dervish.
The most likely outcome, according to the researchers, is that the Conservatives and the Residents’ Association (RA) will form a coalition but Havering Ukip leader Cllr Lawrence Webb is confident that his party will be playing a role.
Speaking to the Recorder about the predictions, Cllr Webb said: “That puts us in the position for a coalition with somebody.
“There’s going to be a flurry of horse-trading on Friday [results day] when we know the final count.
“My prediction is that we will be in power in some shape or form.”
But Romford MP Andrew Rosindell, who is campaigning with the RCA, raised doubts that the association could work with Ukip.
“We would be open to any decision but will not have anything to do with [Ukip candidate] Alby Tebbutt,” he said.
Mr Tebbutt said he would consider a coalition with councillors from HUCA as well as those from the Rainham and Dagenham constituency but ruled out working with the RCA.
He said: “I won’t work with the Romford Conservatives under any circumstances. I would rather resign from Ukip than work with the Romford Conservatives.”
Cllr Webb added: “It’s going to be hard to find anyone in Havering who will form a coalition with the RCA.”
He also speculated on a divide between the RCA and the Hornchurch and Upminster Conservative Association (HUCA).
“I also think we will find getting the two halves of the Conservative party to work together will be nigh on impossible to do,” he said.
RCA chairman Cllr Osman Dervish refuted these claims.
“People have their views and local parties are a broad church,” he said.
“I’m a Conservative first and I want to work with the Conservatives. There’s no conflict between the associations.”
Cllr Dervish added that he cannot see why anyone would have a problem with the RCA.
Conservative council leader and HUCA chairman Cllr Steven Kelly thinks that Ukip will not perform as strongly as predicted and will open the doors for the RA and other groups to get more seats.
He remains open minded about a coalition.
“I’m open to talk to anybody when we know the results. We just need what’s best for Havering,” he said.
RA leader Cllr Barrett said that he is open to discussions with all the parties but cannot make a decision until the results are in.
Follow @romfordrecorder and keep a close eye on romfordrecorder.co.uk on May 23 as we will be reporting live from the election counts.