For Britain defeated in Hartlepool council election

Anne Marie Waters (centre right) with For Britain colleagues including former BNP activists Eddy and Sue Butler, Jeff Marshall, and Julian Leppert

Just a few weeks ago it seemed very likely that the For Britain Movement – an anti-Islamist party founded by former UKIP leadership candidate Anne-Marie Waters – would win two or three council seats in Hartlepool and at least one more in Epping Forest, with further successes elsewhere not considered impossible.

The party already had two elected councillors – former BNP councillor Julian Leppert in Epping Forest and Karen King in Hartlepool. Party leader Anne-Marie Waters even moved to Hartlepool so that she could stand for the council there.

However today Ms Waters and her party have proved the highest profile victims of a remarkable Tory surge in White working class, pro-Brexit areas.

Within the last hour it was confirmed that For Britain have lost their Hartlepool seat and that all of the party’s candidates (including Ms Waters herself) have been defeated.

Hartlepool Council had boundary changes this year so the entire council was up for election, with three vacancies in each ward. In theory this ought to have been helpful in For Britain’s main target ward De Bruce, where the Conservatives only had one candidate and For Britain two, for three vacancies. In the event For Britain’s councillor Karen King was defeated by fifteen votes.

The sole Conservative candidate topped the poll in De Bruce ward, with the other two seats falling to Labour. Ms King finished fourth and Ms Waters a further 154 votes behind in sixth place. For Britain’s vote in the ward amounted to 23.4%.

Defeated For Britain candidates Anne Marie Waters (above left) and ex-councillor Karen King

For Britain’s third Hartlepool candidate was in Foggy Furze ward, where they polled only 2.1%. In this ward a defending councillor from the Veterans & People’s Party lost his seat. The VPP also lost their other seat in Rossmere ward.

Julian Leppert is now For Britain’s only surviving councillor after a very bad night for his party. Cllr Leppert’s Epping Forest seat was not up for re-election: he finished fourth with 6.8% in the Waltham Abbey division of Essex County Council. Meanwhile his fellow ex-BNP councillor Mrs Pat Richardson finished third with 18.2% in For Britain’s main Epping Forest target ward this year, Waltham Abbey Honey Lane.

The three other Epping Forest candidates from For Britain polled between 3.2% and 5.8%.

Most other For Britain results nationwide were poor. An exception was in Durham‘s Trimdon & Thornley ward, where Dave Smith polled 16.3% – greatly assisted by the Conservatives only having two candidates for three vacancies.

Another significant casualty of the Conservative surge was Dr Jim Lewthwaite, British Democratic Party candidate for Wyke ward, Bradford, who finished third of six candidates with 6.2%.

One consolation for Dr Lewthwaite (and for some of the For Britain candidates) was that they fared better than the rebranded Brexit Party, now known as Reform UK, which fell at its first electoral hurdle.

The future of Reform UK and its leader Richard Tice must now be in doubt.

H&D will have a comprehensive results service and analysis at this website and in the forthcoming edition of the magazine.

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