Thetford and Brandons’ political picture was redrawn last week as three UKIP candidates upset the applecart in county council elections.
In a dramatic finale to the Norfolk County Council elections last Friday, UKIP candidate Peter Georgiou pipped Labour’s Terry Jermy to the seat of Thetford West by a single vote - winning by 814 votes to 813 after four recounts.
Cllr Georgiou’s success followed a win for his UKIP counterpart, Denis Crawford, who had taken Thetford East earlier in the day during the count at Dereham Memorial Hall.
Cllr Georgiou paid tribute to his opponents and said it had been a tough campaign.
“I have been saying all along it was going to be tight, but I didn’t think it would be this tight.
“I only hope I can live up to the expectations and the responsibility of the position, especially since Terry was such a good candidate. I feel quite honoured to have beaten him,” he said.
Cllr Crawford’s win saw him oust Conservative incumbent, Marion Chapman-Allen.
He took 896 votes to Mrs Chapman-Allen’s 502.
The US-born councillor said immigration was a major issue in the town.
“We need to help people who have come to Thetford to integrate better.
“I’d like to see that anyone who comes to this country can be helped by the government,” he said.
The Thetford West result was the last to be announced in the elections.
It confirmed that UKIP would be the second-placed party in Norfolk, taking 15 seats to Labour’s 14.
The Conservative group found its numbers trimmed to 40 seats, having taken 60 seats in the 2009 elections.
Thetford’s UKIP winners were joined in success by Reg Silvester, who took the Brandon division in Suffolk County Council’s elections.
Cllr Silvester, who is also chairman of Brandon Town Council, said immigration had been one of a number of issues raised by voters, but not the biggest.
“I am not running a witch hunt and I am not against immigration, but I am in favour of tighter controls.
“People in Brandon are more worried about the bus service, the level crossing and how the A11 dualling will affect the town.”