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By-election joy for Tories

WINNER: Michael Northey
WINNER: Michael Northey

THE Conservatives have won Canterbury council's Barton ward by-election - upsetting the Lib Dem/Labour alliance’s fragile grip on power in the city.

Tory candidate Michael Northey’s win means the council is divided between 25 Conservatives and 25 Labour and Lib Dem members.

Cllr Northey polled 820 votes in an election which saw 31.8 per cent turnout and which was dominated by the battle over plans for a business park at Little Barton Farm off New Dover Road. His nearest rival, Lib Dem James Flanagan, received 697 votes.

Cllr Northey, a semi-retired English teacher, says he is delighted by the size of the victory in the by-election, which had been triggered by the resignation of Lib Dem Carole Brett.

“I do hope that now the council is split 25-25 that the Conservatives will have more influence on the council - it would be scandalous if we did not,” he said.

Cllr Northey, who lives in Barton Road, represented the ward between the summer of 2001 and last May when he lost his seat by a single vote in a full council election.

He said: “It’s nice to be back, I did miss it. I really do want to help the ward and its people.”

There are now 25 Conservatives, 18 Lib Dems and seven Labour members on the city Council.

The result from Thursday was:

Keith Bothwell (Green Party) 145 votes

Blue Cooper (Council Tax Payers’ Party, England’s Own) 70

James Flanagan (Lib Dem) 697

Michael Northey (Conservative) 820

Laurence Ward (Labour) 100

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