Greens win Mid Suffolk seat in by-election

Thurston Mid Suffolk Green councillor Austin Davies

Austin Davies has been elected for the Greens at Mid Suffolk District Council's Thurston by-election. - Credit: MID SUFFOLK GREEN PARTY

A Suffolk council is still politically deadlocked after the Greens retained the key seat of Thurston in Thursday’s Mid Suffolk District Council by-election.

Green candidate Austin Davies secured 845 votes to the Conservatives’ 399 for their candidate Philippa Wilding, to retain the seat for the party.

Mr Davies said: “I am humbled and delighted that the constituents of the Thurston ward have put their trust in me to be their district councillor.

“I will continue to listen to their needs and wishes and work hard to find appropriate solutions for our community.”

Austin Davies won the Thurston seat for the Greens

Austin Davies won the Thurston seat for the Greens - Credit: MID SUFFOLK GREEN PARTY

The by-election – the first since 2019’s local elections which left the council numerically split – was prompted by Green councillor Wendy Turner moving to Sheffield to be closer to her family.

It means the current split in the council remains with the 16 Conservatives and one Independent united as a coalition administration, with the 12 Greens and five Liberal Democrats uniting as an opposition group.

The numbers mean that for split decisions the administration needs to utilise the casting vote of the Conservative council chairman.

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The election was expected to be closely fought with the second Thurston seat belonging to the Conservatives and an overall majority up for grabs had the party secured the seat.

Green and Liberal Democrat group leader Andy Mellen said divisions among the Conservatives over Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s handling of the partygate scandal in Westminster meant some Conservative voters didn’t turn out, but local issues were also a factor.

“Clearly there are some national factors at play but also Thurston village in particular has borne the brunt of the Conservative planning failures – 1,300 new homes with a lot of those allowed through when the Conservative administration didn’t have a five-year land supply,” he said.

“The result is a reflection of that as well as us putting up a very good candidate.”

The full result is as follows:

  • Austin Davies (Green) – 845
  • Philippa Wilding (Conservative) – 399
  • Timothy Glenton (Liberal Democrats) – 37
  • Terence Wilson (Labour) – 32

Turnout: 28.4%. Greens hold.