Home   Medway   News   Article

Medway by-election result: Labour's Alex Paterson wins seat after Kelly Tolhurst stepped down

Labour secured a shock council by-election victory last night taking a seat from the Conservatives after the resignation of a Tory MP.

Alex Paterson is Medway’s latest councillor after securing the surprise result in the Rochester West by-election.

In a ward seen by many as a Conservative safe seat, the Labour candidate received 1,212 votes, beating nearest rival Alan Kew (Con) by 205. The turnout was 33%.

Scroll down for video

Alex Paterson is Medway’s latest councillor after securing the surprise result in the Rochester West by-election
Alex Paterson is Medway’s latest councillor after securing the surprise result in the Rochester West by-election

The by-election was called following the resignation of Kelly Tolhurst (Con) after she was appointed a government whip in January.

Cllr Paterson said he was convinced Labour could win the seat, even though the ward delivered two Conservative councillors at the last election in 2015.

He said: "It's a fantastic feeling. I knew that when this by-election was called that this was a ward that Labour should absolutely be challenging in and I knew we could win it.

"I'm delighted we have won it, and that's great news for Rochester West who will now have someone standing up for a different set of values than they have had over the past 20 years."

Cllr Paterson has lived in Rochester for 15 years, and spent 20 years as a journalist before starting a new role as a press officer last year.

Speaking after the result was announced, Medway Council leader Alan Jarrett (Con) said he was disappointed but would use it as inspiration to get voters back on side.

Cllr Alex Paterson
Cllr Alex Paterson

He added: "We had a good candidate and fought a decent campaign, but obviously the voters decided they wanted Labour in Rochester West and that gives us a big motivation to win it back next year.

"I'm not sure there is a message from voters. It's just a combination of circumstances – things in central government are difficult, and things in Medway are difficult."

Martin Rose (Lib Dem), who finished, third said: "We have only had a few weeks to get out there. It's been enjoyable meeting people on the campaign.

Kelly Tolhurst (Con) resigned after she was appointed a government whip in January
Kelly Tolhurst (Con) resigned after she was appointed a government whip in January

"It's been a good opportunity to find out what the local issues are, and engage with residents to see how national issues are filtering through too."

Sonia Hyner (Green) said: "We campaigned about the environment, homelessness – which people are very concerned about – and mental health provision at Medway hospital."

But Ukip's vote was in freefall last night. In 2015, its two candidates each polled more than 1,000 votes. The party secured just 104 yesterday, a slide of around 90%.

Before the result was announced, Rob McCulloch Martin (Ukip) said: "I hammered home on topics that people were passionate about. Hopefully the candidate that does win takes on what issues we have raised in our campaign."


Total votes:

Green - Sonia Hyner: 107

Conservatives - Alan Kew: 1,007

Ukip - Rob McCulloch Martin: 104

Labour - Alex Paterson: 1,212

Liberal Democrats - Martin Rose: 119

Join the debate...
Comments |

Don't have an account? Please Register first!

The KM Group does not moderate comments. Please click here for our house rules.

People who post abusive comments about other users or those featured in articles will be banned.

Thank you. Your comment has been received and will appear on the site shortly.

 

Terms of Comments
We do not actively moderate, monitor or edit contributions to the reader comments but we may intervene and take such action as we think necessary, please click here for our house rules. If you have any concerns over the contents on our site, please either register those concerns using the report abuse button, contact us here, email multimediadesk@thekmgroup.co.uk or call 01634 227989.

Follow us

Like Us on Facebook

Most popular

Kent Travel News

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More