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Conservative Gary Harding wins Meopham North by-election at Gravesham council

The Conservatives have comfortably held onto a council seat after a by-election was triggered by the death of a former leader.

Gary Harding will now represent Meopham North at Gravesham council, finishing way ahead of his rivals at this morning's count with 64% of the vote.

He follows in the footsteps of Cllr John Cubitt, who died in August, five months after he was forced to step down as council leader due to illness.

Conservative Gary Harding
Conservative Gary Harding

Newly-elected Cllr Harding said his campaign had been a success because he and his Tory colleagues had listened to the concerns of residents and was committed to addressing them.

"The biggest concern was traffic and the safety of people, especially at school time," he said.

"Wrotham Road and the speed of the traffic there is a big issue and so is parking outside the shops at The Parade, which has been a problem for too long now.

"We listened to people, took notice of them, and they appreciate it."

Cllr John Cubitt (Con) died earlier this year
Cllr John Cubitt (Con) died earlier this year

Cllr Harding, who is profoundly deaf, said he would have no issue working with councillors from other parties to get things done.

The borough council has 24 Conservative councillors and 20 from Labour.

"I am not a divisive person," he added.

"It's not about where we have all come from, it's about where we are all going."

Turnout for the by-election was just shy of 32%, with 1127 votes cast.

Full results: Gary Harding (Con) - 721, John Death (Lib) - 192, Doug Christie (Lab) - 155, Tina Brooker (Ukip) - 59.

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