Election 2015: Beaten UKIP Grimsby candidate Victoria Ayling blames smear campaign for failure at poll
A night which had promised so much for Ukip and their General Election candidate Victoria Ayling, turned into a horror show as they were beaten into third place in the town they were tipped to take.
During the election trail, Nigel Farage had visited in a blaze of glory as candidate Victoria Ayling played out one of the most high-profile campaigns the town has ever seen.
Even 24-hours before the polls opened they continued to be optimistic, with Ms Ayling saying she was neck and neck with Labour.
By 3.10am it was clear that Melanie Onn would take the seat and Ukip sources began to admit defeat in the battle.
Following the result, Ms Ayling was keen to highlight what she described as the “smears” against both her and Ukip in general she claimed to have suffered throughout her high-profile campaign.
She said: “All the vicious smears against myself and the party, most people realise are just that, without an element of truth.
“People have ignored that and know we can deliver for Great Grimsby.
“It has been a nasty campaign with myself and my family being dragged through the mill out of malice because the establishment parties fear a breakthrough by Ukip. But we soldiered on regardless.
“We already have hundreds of councillors throughout the country and more MEPs than anyone else.”
“You cannot sniff at second place because it represents a massive change in fortunes.”
The second blow came as they failed to seize more seats on North East Lincolnshire Council inthe local elections, which were declared yesterday afternoon.
They took just one seat, which will only be held for 12 months.
The much-anticipated demise of the ruling Labour administration was exaggerated as UK Independence candidates increased their votes but fell short of gaining anymore control on the 42 seat council.
Ukip’s Group leader on North East Lincolnshire Council, Councillor Ron Shepherd said the results were “disappointing.”
Many Labour councillors fended off the expected Ukip surge and held on to their wards, making them the biggest party with 20 seats.
The Conservative party made a gain and reached a tally of 10 seats with Ukip third with nine seats.
Announcing his retirement from local politics, former Council leader, Andrew De Freitas wept as he said this would be his last campaign and he will not contest the next election.
He leads a Liberal Democrat Group with just three councillors.
In a count with few dramas Council Leader Councillor Chris Shaw’s prediction of little change in representation on the council, came true.
Although Labour have no overall control he was confident his successor as Labour leader will attract a coalition.
Labour lost only one seat to Ukip on Grimsby’s East Marsh, as former Labour party member Becci Bishell took the vacant seat in the ward.
She was not at the count yesterday due to an injury.
Many of the Ukip councillors also declined to comment on the party’s failure.
Group leader Councillor Shepherd said: “With Labour on 20 and the rest with 22 seats it is going to be interesting.”
He added: “It has been disappointing, but onwards and upwards. This is setting markers for next year. Every dog has its day.”
He added: “The national picture has had a profound effect. People voted for the traditional parties out of fear of change.”
He said his party had seen their number of votes for Ukip in Grimsby go up to 10,500.
The Cleethorpes candidate for Ukip in the parliamentary election, Stephen Harness said: “Our share has gone up from three per cent in 2010 to 12 per cent. That is significant progress and we can be reasonably pleased with that.”
He added: “Nationally there was an SNP issue that the public has come out to vote against because they did not want that possibility.”
Leader of the Conservative Group on North East Lincolnshire Council Councillor Philip Jackson said Ukip had “peaked.”
He said: “We are starting to see the demise of Ukip.”
From The Grimsby Telegraph . 09.05.15.