Conservatives increase majority after successful local elections

Elmbridge Conservatives have bucked the national trend by increasing their majority on the Borough Council at the 22 May local elections.

The party kept UKIP at bay to retain all of its seats and also won Molesey East from the Molesey Residents Association for the first time since 2003. In St George's Hill, Conservative candidate Simon Foale withstood the challenge of ex-Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie (standing for the St George's Hill Independents) with 811 votes to Mr MacKenzie's 770.

Following the count at Sandown Park in Esher on Friday, the Conservative group emerged with 32 of the 60 available seats at the Council and will enter its ninth year as the administration.

It had fought the election on its record of low taxation, support for voluntary groups and achieving £8million in savings without impacting on services.

Council and Conservative group Leader, Cllr John O'Reilly said: "My sincere thanks to Elmbridge residents for their confidence on 22 May in giving the Conservatives an increased majority on Elmbridge Borough Council. I was particularly delighted by the successes of Steve Bax in Molesey East and Simon Foale in St George's Hill and that all our existing hard-working Councillors were re-elected.

"In the year ahead, we will continue to be a moderate, mainstream, inclusive and listening Administration, determined to fulfil our election pledges of freezing our portion of the Council Tax, maximizing efficiencies, providing excellent services to our community and protecting the unique environment that is Elmbridge."

Success in the elections was a team effort with members and councillors providing mutual aid to target seats and helping to get out the vote.

John Caton, Chairman of Esher & Walton Conservative Association, said: "The Elmbridge Borough Elections were a success for the Association and the Elmbridge Conservative Group with one gain and an important 'hold' raising us to 32 out of 60 councillors on Elmbridge. The gain of Molesey East by Steve Bax and the swing of 18% to Grahame Throm-Jones in Molesey North were particularly creditable achievements and set the scene for future progress in Molesey. Meanwhile many other candidates have achievements to take pride in and to build on. We look forward to an exciting and fruitful year ahead! The Deputy Chairman (Political) will shortly be calling for candidates for 2015."

Claygate saw the highest turnout with 45.76%, where Conservative candidate Mark Sugden was disappointed to finish runner-up to the Liberal Democrats despite all of his efforts, and Cobham Fairmile - which was held for the Conservatives by Tim Grey - was the lowest turnout on 30.09%.

In Esher incumbant Simon Waugh prevailed by 34 votes in a close two-horse race against the Residents Association, and in Walton South Christine Elmer was automatically re-elected after nobody came forward to challenge her.

You can see all of the local council election results at Elmbridge Borough Council's website.