Local Elections: Romford Conservatives triumph over Ukip defectors
12:00 31 May 2014
An impressive 20 out of Romford’s Conservative “Team 21” won seats as the party’s newcomers saw off its older rivals.
An impressive 20 out of Romford Conservative “Team 21” took council seats as the party’s newcomers saw off its older rivals.
None of the six ex-Romford Conservative Association (RCA) members who defected to Ukip this term following a bitter rift in the group managed to get re-elected.
Losers included the current mayor Cllr Eric Munday and deputy mayor Cllr Lynden Thorpe.
Former RCA councillor and political veteran Alby Tebbutt, who revealed he had been invited to join Ukip by its leader Nigel Farage, was beaten by his Tory enemies.
Cllr Osman Dervish, who upon becoming chairman at the RCA expelled Mr Tebbutt from the association, was elected in the Pettits ward - beating Mr Tebbutt by more than 500 votes.
“They may think they had a huge amount of personal following but it wasn’t enough to topple the Conservative vote,” Cllr Dervish said.
“I’m very pleased we’ve managed to stave off any threat from Ukip. This shows what happens when you get proper Conservative message across to local people.”
Despite losing out, Mr Tebbutt described the result as “fantastic” after receiving a considerable share of the votes in the Tory stronghold.
He added that he had “no ambition to go back as a councillor”.
“My main objective was to sort out Andrew Rosindell [Romford MP] and his colleagues who have destroyed the Conservative party which I have worked for my whole life,” he said. “It’s fantastic if I can get nearly 1,400 votes there.”
Havering’s Ukip leader Cllr Lawrence Webb also celebrated Mr Tebbutt’s result.
He said: “That was one of the Tory’s safest seats but Alby was about 400 votes from the Tories.”
He believes that his party has made the ward a “marginal seat”.
Cllr Munday, who is the longest continually-serving councillor, said that a “wealth of experience” has been lost from the council.
“Whole swathes of people who know the score have now gone,” he said.