LABOUR won big again in Sandwell tonight winning 23 out of 24 seats with UKIP winning the remaining seat.
The controlling Labour group now has 70 out of 72 seats on the council with new Princes End UKIP councillor Philip Garrett finding himself 50 per cent of the entire opposition.
Council leader Darren Cooper, who hoped for a clean sweep before the polls, said: “The Labour vote has held up brilliantly in Sandwell at a time of massive Government cuts.
“Voters have again backed Labour in Sandwell and though I am of course disappointed that we now have a UKIP councillor in Sandwell it has to be said it is representing a ward which has a history of electing far right parties.”
He added: “The Tory vote has collapsed across the borough spectacularly and UKIP has benefitted from this.”
Oldbury councillor Mahboob Hussain, deputy leader of the council, who won his seat comfortably, added: “Voters have again shown they trust Labour in this difficult time, we are opening swimming pools, keeping weekly rubbish collections and not charging for garden waste.”
New UKIP Councillor Philip Garrett said: “I am absolutely numb, I cannot believe I have won in the seat in which I grew up in.
“I now have a massive responsibility to those who voted for me and the whole of Sandwell as I will have to scrutinise what the council is doing, I just hope I will not get drowned out.”
Blackheath ward was a close race between UKIP and Labour with sitting councillor Malcolm Bridges winning by just 87 votes.
Labour’s Chris Tranter kept hold of his Rowley seat.
He said: “It was a good campaign, everything went well and I’d like to thank everyone who voted for me.”
Labour’s Julie Webb also retained her seat in Cradley Heath and Old Hill.
She said: “It really means a lot that I have won this seat again and I would like to thank everyone who supported me.”