UKIP has been propelled to main opposition party on West Sussex County Council after the Lib Dems faced meltdown in the county elections.
Although UKIP secured ten seats and were in strong second place in many others, the Conservatives comfortably retained overall control of the authority.
Indeed, although the Tories suffered losses to UKIP they made significant gains themselves, largely at the expense of their former opposition party the Lib Dems.
But they paid a heavy price too for UKIP’s meteoric rise.
The county council chairman Mike Coleman lost his Nyetimber seat to UKIP Tony Sutcliffe while Conservative heavyweight Mark Dunn was ousted from his Bourne seat by UKIP’s Sandra James.
Midhurst, which would normally have been strong Tory ground, went to Independent Gordan Mcara after former Conservative John Cherry made headlines for alleged racist remarks.
Reflecting the national picture, UKIP came from nowhere to take second place sending shockwaves through True Blue West Sussex – even if it was bright yellow Lib Dems that suffered most.
The final make-up of the council is:
Lib Dems 8
Key gains for the Conservatives included:
Andy PETCH gains Hassocks & Victoria from Lib Dems
John DE MIERRE gains Haywards Heath East from Lib Dems
Ashwin PATEL gains Bognor Regis & Aldwick from Lib Dems
Anne JONES gains Burgess Hill East from Lib Dems
Jim RAE gains Roffey from Lib Dems
Daivd BARLING gains Bramber Castle from Lib Dem
Michael CLOAKE gains Worthing Pier from Independent
Sujan WICKREMARATCHI gains Haywards Heath Town from Labour
Bryan TURNER gains Broadwater from Lib Dems
Simon Oakley gains Chichester East from Lib Dems
Andrew BARRETT-MILES gains Burgess Hill Town
Roger OAKLEY gains Worthing East from Lib Dems
Peter METCALFE gains Kingston Buci from UKIP
The only crumb of comfort for the Lib Dems came when Ian BUCKLAND gained Littlehampton Town from the Conservatives.
Labour won four new seats in the Crawley area:
Michael JONES gains Southgate & Crawley Central
Peter LAMB gains NORTHGATE & THREE BRIDGES
Susan MULLINS wins GOSSOPS GREEN & IFIELD EAST
Brian QUINN wins BROADFIELD
But in the supersafe Tory stronghold that is West Sussex, as elsewhere in the country, the shockwaves came from UKIP:
Michael GLENNON gains Lancing from Conservatives
Sandra JAMES gains Bourne
Tony SUTCLIFFE gains Nyetimber
Joan PHILLIPS gains Middleton from Conservatives
Graham LEWIS gains Felpham from Conservatives
Mick CLARK gains Saltings from Conservatives
Ann Rapnik gains Bersted from Lib Dems
Bernard SMITH gains Selsey from Conservatives
Lionel PARSONS gains Sompting & North Lancing from Conservatives
Trixie HALL gains Durrington & Salvington from Conservatives