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Shepway: return of some old Tory faces

MP MICHAEL HOWARD: watched as results turned increasingly blue in colour
MP MICHAEL HOWARD: watched as results turned increasingly blue in colour

JUST recovering from an earthquake, Shepway has had another shake up this time in the local elections.

The Conservatives have had a great day, now holding 34 of the 46 Shepway District Council seats.

The Liberal Democrats won 10 with the remaining two belonging to Paul Marsh and Brian Copping from the People First party.

Labour fielded 11 candidates, but again have failed to make any impact. The same is true of the new Shepway Independents group, which did not win any seats.

All the wards in Hythe are now Tory with some old faces returning, including Stan Hayward, Michael Lyons, Keren Belcourt and Malcolm Dearden.

Hotly-contested North Downs East is also a Conservative strong-hold now, with Peter and Christena Smith unable to secure the support they needed.

Among those who have also lost their seats is current Folkestone mayor Janet Andrews and long-standing councillor Linda Cufley. She has been replaced in Cheriton by Liberal Democrat campaigner and adversary Peter Carroll.

He will be joined in the council chamber by his partner Lynne Beaumont, who was victorious in the Folkestone Park ward.

The most interesting pillow talk, however, may well be in Lydd High Street. Husband and wife Simon and Sue Ashworth are now both Marsh councillors, but one is a Conservative and one is a Liberal Democrat.

Folkestone and Hythe MP Michael Howard arrived at the count at the Leas Cliff Hall around lunchtime to watch the board detailing the results turn increasingly blue in colour.

Folkestone Sandgate ward's Cllr Robert Bliss, who is expected to continue as leader, said: "What a team we have now. It has been an excellent day. We will continue to improve the Shepway district."

Of the 73,457 people eligible to vote in the election, 40.1 per cent turned out.

The highest individual turnout, 53.6 per cent, was in the Elham and Stelling Minnis ward which is now represented by Conservative Pam Carr.

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