Greens win in East Suffolk by-election - but Tories just hold second seat

Leiston town centre

Voters in Leiston and Aldeburgh have elected a Green district councillor for the first time. - Credit: Archant

The Green Party in East Suffolk was celebrating on Friday after picking up another seat from the Tories in a council by-election - in the Aldeburgh and Leiston ward.

They came close to making it a double celebration, only losing the second seat that was also being contested by a couple of votes.

But the result was very tight - just nine votes separated the top three candidates, with two of them destined to win seats on East Suffolk Council.

It is understood there was a great deal of cross-voting, as ballot papers showed that many voters spread their votes between candidates from different parties.

Tom Daly is the first Green councillor elected in the area, which includes much of the site of the proposed new Sizewell C power station.

He will be joined on the council by Conservative Russ Rainger, who was a county councillor for the area before standing down in May.

The second Green candidate, Matt Oakley, came only two votes behind Mr Rainger.

Caroline Topping

Green group leader Caroline Topping welcomed Mr Daly's victory. - Credit: East Suffolk Council

Caroline Topping, Green group leader at East Suffolk Council, said it was "a real shot across the bows to the Conservative Party nearly losing both those seats".

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She added: "Sizewell is such a massive community issue and there is such strong feeling about it.

"When you consider how many people in the community must work at Sizewell, to have such a big vote in favour of the Green Party - which is against Sizewell C - it is saying something about the population and the way we are going in our commitment to going carbon zero.

"I think people really do think the Green Party has got something to offer them."

Steve Gallant

East Suffolk Council leader Steve Gallant - Credit: Archant

Steve Gallant, East Suffolk Council and Conservative group leader, said: "We are really pleased to see the two seats in the Aldeburgh and Leiston Ward filled.

"My deputy leader, councillor Craig Rivett and I, look forward to working with the newly-elected members.

"It’s important to us that the views of the local people in Aldeburgh and Leiston are represented at East Suffolk Council.

"I’m sure the newly-elected members, along with [incumbent] councillor Tony Cooper, will do all they can to represent the people that live and work in the area.

"We are particularly pleased to see that councillor Russ Rainger was elected.

"Russ is very experienced in the workings of local government. He is a well-respected and hardworking local man who will be a real asset to our Conservative group."

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