‘Both main parties have lost heavily to the party that promises to cancel HS2’: Council leader urges government rethink

View from the roof of Fairfax House, with thanks to the Vale of Aylesbury Housing Trust. Looking across to the Bucks County Council (BCC) tower
View from the roof of Fairfax House, with thanks to the Vale of Aylesbury Housing Trust. Looking across to the Bucks County Council (BCC) tower
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Conservative council leader Martin Tett said UKIP gains in Bucks County Council elections are due to their opposition to HS2 and that the government should take notice.

The Tories retained its majority with 36 of the 49 county seats (with 41% of the vote) compared to the 2009 election when it won 46 of 57 seats (with 49.2% of the vote).

Martin Tett: Leader of Buckinghamshire County Council

Martin Tett: Leader of Buckinghamshire County Council

But UKIP is now the Tories’ official opposition in Bucks after the party mirrored its success nationwide by taking six seats, five within Aylesbury Vale.

Mr Tett, who retained his seat in Little Chalfont and Amersham said: “Most of the UKIP gains were along the line of HS2. Great Missenden, Wendover, these are all areas highly affected by HS2.

“Both main parties have lost heavily to the party that promises to cancel HS2 and for me there’s something there for the government nationally to look at.

Now that UKIP is the official opposition, Mr Tett said their policies would be more closely scrutinised.

“We will be holding them to account. They have gone around making all sorts of promises on the doorsteps. But we will now be asking ‘where’s your alternative budget? What would you cut?’

“They have now got to come off the fence in terms of making promises without any details.”

The council leader added he was disappointed by an electoral turnout of 30% (a 10% dip from 2009 local elections) but not surprised.

He said: “I was ringing round lots of people last night and found a significant number of people who just said they are not voting. Thirty per cent for a county election is not that surprising.

“In 2009 we had a massive disenchantment with Gordon Brown and with voters who wanted to give Labour a kicking. That’s been reflected a little here, some people have gone for alternative parties and some have just stayed at home.”