IN the week when Prince rocked Britain the purple reign of UKIP began with a landslide in the Dudley Council elections.
The euro-sceptic UK Independence Party launched a smash and grab raid on Conservative seats to boost their tally on the council from two to nine.
Aa results were declared at the Dudley town hall count, the Gornal ward set the tone when Roger Scott-Dow claimed the scalp of Tory front bencher Tim Wright shortly before 2am.
Sedgley was another gain from the Tories for UKIP with Tina Westwood unseated by Bill Etheridge who overturned a majority of more than 1,200.
A delighted Cllr Etheridge said: “We have got a foothold now, this isn’t just one night of glory, we are going forward, we are going to change politics in this borough forever.
“People in Dudley are saying they are tired of being constantly misled, mismanaged and having our town and our borough run into the ground. There is a fresh broom in town and we are going to make changes.”
Labour were not spared the pain either, in Upper Gornal and Woodsetton UKIP’s Dean Perks delivered a double blow when he claimed the seat with a healthy 608 majority.
Although he deposed Tory Doreen Ameson, the sitting councillor was bumped into third place by Labour cabinet member Tracy Wood who finished second but failed to stem the UKIP tide.
Labour’s now former environment spokesperson may regret moving from the ward of Netherton, Woodside and St Andrews to fight the 2014 election - her previous ward remained in Labour’s hands.
Cllr Perks said: “We fought a clean fight, a truthful fight and we can walk away with our heads held high.
“Labour put someone in there because they thought it was a safe seat, that was always dangerous. There is a new politics on its way for Dudley and nationwide.”
Labour also lost out to UKIP in Coseley East where sitting councillor Sue Ridney fell just 33 votes short to Star Etheridge.
Overall, after the 2014 elections, where a third of the 72 seats were contested, Labour remain in control of Dudley with 40, the Conservatives have 20 and UKIP nine. The authority’s membership is completed by two independent Tories and one Green Party councillor.
Labour’s cabinet member for housing, Cllr Steve Waltho, said: “I think we were shocked and surprised at the level of the UKIP vote.
“I think they will have ridden on the back of this huge european campaign that they have been putting forward, it will be very interesting next year, I think they will flatline or fall back at the general election stage.
“They are a one policy party at the end of the day, we will see how that works out. We are still in quite a comfortable and strong majority.”