Sebastian Payne

The Ukip juggernaut continues: Tim Aker wins Thurrock council by-election

The Ukip juggernaut continues: Tim Aker wins Thurrock council by-election
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Ukip's Tim Aker is now juggling three jobs. Last night, the 29-year-old won a by-election in the Aveley & Uplands ward in Thurrock, adding councillor to his existing titles of MEP for the East of England and Ukip's Head of Policy.

Although their vote share dropped, Aker won the by-election with 40 percent of the vote, a strong result that keeps the Ukip momentum going as the year draws to a close. He had a dirty battle with the Tories, who disturbed leaflets referring to him as 'Timür Aker', in what appeared to be a reminder of his Turkish roots. As James wrote in the Mail on Sunday last week, this was a cheap tactic that has backfired:

'This appears to be a cheap tactic, seeing as Aker is known by all – and refers to himself – as Tim. It seems clear what these Tories were trying to do, and it is worthy of nothing but contempt. The Tories won’t beat Ukip – locally or nationally – by diving headfirst into the gutter.'

The win also confirms Aker as one of the party's rising stars, who is now tasked with writing their general election manifesto. He is not universally popular within the party: in a Times profile this week which revealed Aker's £62,000 salary, one member of the Ukip executive committee described him  as 'harmless enough but thoroughly lightweight and has done virtually nothing for the party'.

Representing Ukip on three fronts makes it tricky to say he hasn't done much for the party. He is clearly aware of pulling himself too many ways  — Aker has promised to hand back his £8,000 councillor allowances, according to the Clacton Gazette.

After crafting the manifesto, Aker will try to win the seat of Thurrock from the Tories (he's been selected as PPC). Lord Ashcroft's polling from the summer already has Ukip in first place, so we can only expect to see more from Aker in next few months.