Conservatives win Waveney council seat
THE Conservatives strengthened their grip on Waveney District Council after winning a crucial by-election last night.Although Jamie Starling's victory at Kessingland gave the Tories "a tremendous boost" before the local elections later this year it was not enough to give them an overall majority on the north Suffolk local authority.
THE Conservatives strengthened their grip on Waveney District Council after winning a crucial by-election last night.
Although Jamie Starling's victory at Kessingland gave the Tories "a tremendous boost" before the local elections later this year it was not enough to give them an overall majority on the north Suffolk local authority.
Following Mr Starling's success there are now 22 Conservative councillors, 17 Labour, 6 Independents and 3 Liberal Democrats.
In a close fought contest Mr Starling polled 463 votes with Labour's Kate McGee 417. Nicholas Bromley, the Liberal Democrat candidate received 297 votes.
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"I am so very happy and proud of all my team who worked so hard," said a delighted Mr Starling when the result was announced.
"I am looking forward to representing the people of Kessingland on Waveney District Council for the next two years," he said.
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Peter Austin, the Conservative leader of the council, said the result had given the Tories "a real boost" before 16 seats are contested in June this year.
"This is a great result for us and everyone here in Kessingland deserves great credit. I am sure that the low council tax increase we were able to deliver earlier this week had an impact on the result," he said.
The by-election had been called when Labour's Norman Hodges moved away from Suffolk and had to resign his seat on the council.
Although disappointed to lose Kate McGee congratulated Mr Starling.
She said although the seat had just been vacated by a Labour councillor it was until recently a Conservative stronghold and she was "not really surprised" by the result.
"Kessingland is usually won by the Conservatives and, to be frank, we've only been able to win this seat when the Tories were in such a perilous state nationally.
"Of course I'm disappointed not to have won but the result is hardly unexpected as it fits into the time-honoured trend of mid-term protest votes against any incumbent government."
There was a 30% turnout of electors in spite of the wintry weather.