Lib Dems take Bourne division in stunning West Sussex County Council by-election win
The Lib Dems have overturned a large Conservative lead to take the Bourne division in a stunning by-election win at West Sussex County Council.
All out county council elections were held back in May but Mike Magill stepped down months later leaving a vacancy to be filled.
Lib Dem Andrew Kerry-Bedell finished more than 800 votes behind Mr Magill back in May, but six months later he has been returned as a county councillor.
In yesterday’s by-election the well-known campaigner received 52 per cent of the vote (1,180) ahead of Conservative Bob Hayes (893), Green Ann Stewart (178) and Labour’s Alan Butcher (25).
Turnout was 22 per cent.
Kirsty Lord, Lib Dem group leader at County Hall, tweeted: “No words are sweeter than LIB DEM GAIN, particularly when it’s on your own council.
“The people of Bourne have categorically rejected Tory sewage and Tory sleaze.
“Thank you Chichester Lib Dems for a remarkable effort. Welcome to West Sussex County Council Andrew!”
Mr Kerry-Bedell set up the Chidham and Hambrook Action Group and created Save our Harbour Villages.
The area has been besieged by housing developments recently, while there is plenty of anger about a lack of action to tackle worsening water quality in Chichester Harbour.
The rejection of the Lords amendment to the Environment Bill several weeks ago and this week’s furore over a review of standards rules for MPs in light of the Owen Paterson case may also have factored into the by-election result.
Meanwhile fellow Lib Dem Maureen Corfield won a Chichester City Council by-election.
She was returned to the Chichester North ward with 464 votes ahead of Conservative Simon Lloyd-Williams (346), Green Laura Eccott (231), Chichester and Harbour Independents’ Peter Budge (190) and Labour’s Phil Wilson (42).
Turnout was 28 per cent.
Ms Corfield said: “It is with the greatest pleasure that I write to thank all those that voted for me, your Liberal Democrat candidate, in the by election last Thursday, 4th Nov.
“You gave me a nine percentage point lead in a crowded field, a clear victory for the message that local politics is about responding to my neighbours by understanding your priorities.
“You made your voices heard. I now have a significant mandate to take your (and my) issues forward.
“To those that voted for one of the other four parties, please know that we are not so far apart. We all want quieter, safer roads and cleaner air; better ecological protections for our small patch of the planet; less noise pollution and a more confident city centre to visit. These and the other issues that came up from those that voted for me and those that didn’t affect us all. And so, it is with such pride that I begin work as your City Councillor to see what progress I can make on your behalf, and the strides we can make together. Thank you all so much.”
Adrian Moss, Lib Dem group leader at Chichester District Council, added: “Both victories are a result of a huge effort by both candidates and a dedicated team of supporters.
“Winning again in Chichester North demonstrates that residents understand that the Lib Dems are the committed campaigning party that get things done.
“In the Bourne division, Andrew was an exceptional candidate whose work on planning and the problems with Southern Water are well known.
“Our focus on people’s concerns across the environment, water quality and poor local infrastructure are the right ones.”