Local Elections: Havering resembles Essex by voting Ukip
PUBLISHED: 12:00 01 June 2014
Havering voters proved they are more “Essex Man” than Londoner by voting in more Ukip councillors than anywhere else in the capital.
Ukip won just 12 seats in London but seven of those were in Havering, including a clean-sweep in the Gooshays ward.
Havering’s Ukip leader Cllr Lawrence Webb was re-elected in the ward where he won the party’s first seat in Havering in the 2012 by-election.
Cllr Webb, whose party took 20 per cent of the overall vote locally just behind the Tories and the Residents’ Association, believes that, despite Havering being a London borough for nearly 50 years, its people are more akin to those in Essex.
“The M25 is a visible boundary but there’s little difference between the people who live in Havering than in other parts of Essex,” he said.
“People in Havering do not necessarily consider themselves to be Londoners.
“People have an entrepreneurial spirit in Havering as well as in Essex and people look to do things differently.”
Havering also voted overwhelmingly for Ukip in the European elections.
The anti-EU party made history by winning the European election nationwide – although the London constituency returned one out of a possible eight.
But 43 per cent of voters in Havering chose Ukip, significantly higher than the 17pc London average.
The results echo some of the Essex results: in Thurrock 46pc voted Ukip, Basildon 45pc and Maldon 41pc.
Incumbent Conservative council leader Cllr Steven Kelly blamed Ukip for splitting the Tory vote in Hornchurch and Upminster which led to the Residents’ Association gaining councillors in the constituency.
He added that Havering and Essex was a good predictor for the next election.
“Historically, Essex Man votes for change in an election earlier than the rest of the country,” he said. “I think it bodes badly for the Conservatives and well for whichever the protest party is at the time.”