VIDEO: Party leader’s reaction to Rotherham Borough Council election

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Ukip has failed to make the same impact it did last year in Rotherham Borough Council elections as Labour defended the majority of seats.

Labour won 19 out of the 22 seats on offer and despite Ukip adding three more to their total of 12, it was Labour who came away the happiest.

Labour's winning candidates Rotherham Borough Council election

Labour's winning candidates Rotherham Borough Council election

Rotherham voters decided to show their faith in Labour group leader Chris Read who was re-elected with 2,786 votes beating Ukip’s Les Hince who polled 2,186 in Wickersley.

It was a disappointing result for Ukip as many predicted they could repeat their 2014 success by adding another 10 councillors taking advantage of the scandal hit local authority.

The anti-EU party made gains in Hellaby with Richard Fleming, Keppel with Paul Hague and Sitwell with Julie Turner.

Ukip group leader Caven Vines told The Star before the count that many on the doorstep had told him that they would back Labour in the general election and Ukip in the locals.

However this didn’t seem to transpire on the day.

Despite not living up to expectations Vines was up beat.

He said: “I’m not that disappointed we still got three on.

“We’re still a new party and we had a lot of new councillors that we had last year so they’re still learning the ropes.

“It stands us in good stead for next year we’ll have councillors trained up and ready to go.

“We’ve gone from zero to 12 in the space of two years so I’m not that down about it.”

Some Ukip activists were said to be“shocked” and “taken a back” by the turnout Labour received with one Ukip member adding that they thought they would do much better.

Labour won seats in seven areas that Ukip gained in 2014 and Labour leader Chris Read is optimistic for the future.

He said: “We’ve started to turn the corner over the last few months.

“We’ve seen big changes and we want to put out a strong message on how we want to change the council on improving children’s services.

“It was a strange election for Labour - many activists milling around the count floor seemed genuinely surprised about how many seats they kept hold of.

“I came into this election thinking that anything could happen,” said Chris.

“We could of been hit really badly or we could of had a really good result.

“As it happens we’ve lost two good colleagues in Hellaby and Keppel but we’ve had some great results.

“Now the work begins over the coming year and people will test us on whether we have made the changes that they want to see us make.”

Labour only had seven elected councillors that were defending seats due to the resignations of many former council members in the aftermath of the Jay Report on child sexual exploitation.

Those who were current councillors and wanted to stand for election again had to go through a vetting process.

Rotherham voters elected twelve new Labour councillors in what Chris Read hopes is a new direction for the party.

He said: “We want to return pride to Rotherham and we’ve started that journey and hopefully that send a message to new candidates coming through that they can trust the Labour party again.”

Council officers were said to be impressed by the turnout which saw more than 70 per cent in certain wards.