In one sense the election results do not change much in Tunbridge Wells. The Conservatives retain a big majority. The Conservatives gained two seats from the Liberal Democrats, lost one seat to Labour, one to UKIP and one to the Independent.
The changes to the parties' representation are:
My predictions were made on 4 April, before the budget, the furore over Jeremy Hunt, and the fuel 'crisis'. In the circumstances the Conservatives did well to hold St John's and Sherwood and gain a seat from the Liberal Democrats in Broadwater.
The loss by the Conservatives to the Liberal Democrats in Capel surprised me. Regular readers of this blog will know the recent history of former councillor Brian Ransley. The local Conservative Association Executive Council de-selected him, but he was re-instated by the Local Government Committee and fully supported by the Leader of the Council. The Executive Council has been vindicated by the sensible people of Capel.
The 'big story' is the defeat of the Leader of the Council by UKIP in the ward where I live, Rusthall. Had it not been for the problems of the Coalition government he might have held his seat. In 2011 the Conservatives lost a seat to UKIP by 74 votes, this time it was by 46 votes.
UKIP came a good second in Sherwood (30%) with Labour trailing on (19%) and Lib Dem (9%)
The immediate issue for the Conservative Group will be who to recommend as the new Leader of the Council. Whoever is chosen then will have to appoint his/her cabinet.
Both Labour and UKIP will be pleased to have doubled their representation on the Council. Each party will now be a 'Group' and by having 2 councillors each, will be able to use the Council's standing orders to good effect. Two councillors sit as Independents but it is doubtful if they will form a Group, particularly as one is Mayor-elect.