RIVALS to new UKIP councillor and East of England MEP Tim Aker have questioned whether he will be able to fulfill all his duties effectively.

The criticism comes after Mr Aker won the Aveley and Uplands by-election with 40 per cent of the vote on Thursday.

The 29-year-old will now serve as a ward councillor, MEP and fight to win an election campaign for Thurrock's seat in parliament next May.

Polly Billington, the Labour candidate for the General Election, told the Gazette: "Aveley has just elected a councillor who is not only their councillor, but is also the MEP for Cambridgeshire, Suffolk, Norfolk. He has a lot of jobs and a lot of different responsibilities.

"I think it's frankly questionable that he can do both of those jobs, let alone campaign to be MP for the whole of Thurrock especially when he has actually run a campaign which has been divisive."

Jackie Doyle-Price, the Conservative MP for Thurrock - who will look to retain her seat in May - said: "Let's be honest, UKIP's policy when they elect MEP's is that those people just take the money and don't do the job. So he's quite capable of being an MEP and a councillor on his terms.

"But frankly, he's said he's going to not claim his council allowance, but do the job, but will still draw his Brussels pay packet for the job he's not doing. So I think his priorities, as far as what's honourable are concerned, are a bit back to front."

But Mr Aker said: "I've said all along i'm a casework MEP. I've got clout to deliver for Aveley as I already have with residents all over the borough.

"Now I can deliver better for Aveley, i'm still there for any residents across the borough who has got an issue and we can get things done."

SEE ALSO: VIDEO: UKIP Tim triumphant in Aveley by-election

Candidates also reflected on a bitter by-election campaign which saw accusations banded about that candidates were being divisive over transport around the borough, that saw party sign-boards vandalised and which even featured one Conservative leaflet that referred to Tim Aker as 'Timur Aker', a reference to his Turkish father - which didn't go unnoticed among some national political commentators.

Mr Aker described it as the "nastiest campaign he has ever experienced", however each party said their campaign was positive.

Mr Aker said: "Our campaign was about our vision for Aveley and what we wanted to do. The Conservative vision was negativity, hostility, nothing constructive and people turned their back on that."

Ms Doyle-Price said: "I think some of the rhetoric that comes from both the opposition parties to me often gets personal. I always make it a principal not to talk about the individual candidates i'm facing because I don't think that's civilised. Ultimately, if you're standing for election, you should be standing on a positive programme of what you will do.

"Having said that, when it comes to putting out literature and messages they need to resonate and sometimes they can be populist, sometimes they can be gritty.

"The reality is that there are precious too few people getting excited by politics. Ultimately, this was an aggressively fought by election but we still only had a turnout of 28 per cent.

"Our campaigns need to inspire people to vote."

Ms Billington said: "We should be talking about Thurrock as a place that we can be proud of. We've seen gutter politics in this campaign which have been shocking.

"I think it's also pretty shabby that we find that people are prepared to defend the indefencible with these racial slurs. But we will leave that kind of politics to those kind of parties. We will campaign on hope and positive things."