UKIP takes control of first district council despite Farage loss

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UKIP takes control of first district council despite Farage loss
The UK Independence Party has taken control of a district council for the first time – despite failing to elect Nigel Farage in the same area.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage stood down on Friday, after he was beaten by Tory Craig MacKinlay in the South Thanet constituency.

However, it is not all bad news for UKIP in Thanet, which held its local council elections at the same time.

Despite being trounced by the Conservatives in the Westminster elections, the party has won enough seats to take control of the previously-Conservative local authority, Thanet District Council.

With some still left to declare, KentOnline reports that the party has swept up at least 31 of the 56 overall seats on the council, taking control of one for the first time.

Nigel Farage tweeted: “Congratulations to @UKIP in #Thanet, taking control of the council and making it UKIP’s first district council ever. Now to @SaveManston!”
UKIP takes control of first district council despite Farage loss
The local Thanet UKIP branch has been hit with a number of controversies – with former Deputy Leader Rozanne Duncan expelled last year after being caught on camera ranting about her dislike of “Negroid features”.

The local chairman has also spoken openly about his previous membership of the fascist National Front. New UKIP members who disclose their association with the National Front are banned from joining – but the rule does not stop existing members.

Mr Farage had come under intense scrutiny for making claims about HIV during the election campaign – claiming during the BBC leadership debate that the UK is now “incapable” of treating Britons with HIV.

He has also been accused of “ducking” gay rights issues by pulling out of a planned Q&A with PinkNews, making him the only party leader to not take part.

David Cameron, Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg, Natalie Bennett and Nicola Sturgeon have all answered questions from PinkNews readers – but PinkNews understands that Mr Farage outright refused to do so.

He also pulled out of a BBC Newsbeat discussion last week, after Mr Cameron and Mr Miliband were intensely scrutinised on gay rights.

UKIP is the only one of the main UK-wide parties to have pledged an anti-LGBT policy, with the party’s Christian Manifesto – which was not released to the press – calling for a ‘conscience’ law to weaken equality legislation, and accommodate the beliefs of people who oppose gay rights.