Published: 16:45, 07 May 2021
| Updated: 08:41, 09 May 2021
Oliver Eakin won the Sheerness by-election for the Conservatives.
The vote was to fill one of the town’s three seats on Swale council left vacant by the sudden death of Labour’s Mark Ellen in February.
Oliver Eakin (Conservative) after winning the Sheerness by-election
His victory marks the first time the Tories have come back to Sheerness for a decade. The last Conservative representative was Chris Foulds.
It also makes Eakin, 23, who runs Neptune Beach Café in Leysdown with his twin Harry, one of the youngest councillors on Swale. He has matched his Conservative colleague Cameron Beart who won his seat for Queenborough and Halfway when he was also 23.
Eakin put his victory down to Labour's poor showing nationally and a backlash against the Swale Independents coalition which is backing plans for a new housing estate at Rushenden.
He said: "The people on Sheppey aren't happy with the current members of the coalition and what they are doing to the Island. It was a clear message that if they continue in this way they might lose quite a few more councillors."
His focus, he said, will be to crack down on antisocial behaviour and fly-tipping. He is already a member of Leysdown parish council.
There are two other councillors also representing Sheerness on Swale: Labour stalwart Angela Harrison and Lee McCall, who stood as an independent.
Cllr McCall topped the poll at the last election in May 2019 taking 46% with 807 votes. He won the seat from Ukip. Before that, the ward, one of the poorest in Britain, had been a Labour stronghold.
Cllr Harrison, who lost out to the Tories in last week's KCC elections for Sheppey, came second in the 2019 Sheerness vote with 783 votes (44%) and Cllr Ellen, who was the drummer with 70s pop band Vanity Fare, finished third with 684.
Labour's other candidate Nicola Nelson, who was standing again this year, finished fourth with 630 (36%). All the Conservative candidates at that time finished in the bottom three.
Full 2021 results for Sheerness:
Oliver Eakin (Con), 648
Nicola Nelson (Lab), 504
Sam Collins (Green), 209
Dolley White (SIA), 201
The turnout was 19%, with just 1,585 people voting.