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The winners: from left, Labour's Terri Dowling and Tania Charman, and the Tories' Martin Clarke (images from Hastings and Rye Labour and Hastings and Rye Conservatifves respectively).

The winners: from left, Labour’s Terri Dowling and Tania Charman, and the Tories’ Martin Clarke (images from Hastings and Rye Labour and Hastings and Rye Conservatives respectively).

By-elections results: as you were

There were no surprises in the outcome of last week’s by-elections, with both Labour and Conservative holding the three seats in play, but both the Green Party and an independent candidate were pleased with their showing. Nick Terdre reports.

The by-elections on 9 July were caused by the untimely death in May of Labour’s Jeremy Birch, local councillor for Central St Leonards and county councillor for Old Hastings and Tressell, and the resignation for personal reasons of Matthew Locke, Tory councillor for St Helens ward.

The two big parties dominated the voting. In Central St Leonards, Labour’s Terri Dowling was the clear winner in a field of six, with 481 votes or 44% of the vote, followed by the Conservatives’ John Rankin with 259 votes. However, third place was taken by independent Clive Gross with 184 votes.

“I would like to thank everyone who supported me in the Central St Leonards ward by-election last week,” Mr Gross told HOT. “To come third and almost double my vote since 2014 and receive more support than the Greens, Ukip and Liberal Democrats added together is a great result, given the very unfortunate circumstances that brought about the election.

“There is now a clear alternative to the tribal politics of the Labour and Conservative parties in St Leonards and I will be working hard to build on this result in the run-up to the next regular council elections next May.”

In St Helens, Tory Martin Clarke won the seat with 663 votes, 43.5%, though Labour’s Graham Crane was not so far behind with 557.

The Hastings and Old Tressell county council seat was taken by Labour’s Tania Charman with 961 votes, equivalent to 56.5% and making her the only candidate to record more than 50%. She was well ahead of the Conservatives’ Robert Cooke, who polled 368 votes or 21.6%.

The Greens, encouraged to contest all three seats by their showing in the recent general elections, had their best showing in the county council seat, where Andrea Needham took 8.8% of the vote, while in Central St Leonards Al Dixon scored 6.9% and in St Helens Chris Petts just 3.1%.

“Hastings and Rye Green Party contested all three seats in the recent by-election,” a spokesperson told HOT. “In two – the town council seat of Central St Leonards and the county council seat of Old Hastings and Tressell – we achieved a significantly higher percentage of votes than the Green Party received in the recent general election.  In Old Hastings and Tressell, we got more than double the general election Green Party vote share.

“Together with the recent huge increase in Green Party membership locally, this is a firm base on which to build towards future elections. Many people in the area are fed up with two-party politics and with local parties which support destruction of our green spaces. We offer a real alternative, with a vision of a better future, where vulnerable people are not targeted for cuts and climate change is taken seriously.”

Ukip also had its best result in the county council seat, where Sebastian Norton polled 10.2%, while in St Helens Ken Pankhurst had 7.9% of the vote and in Central St Leonards Kevin Hill 7%.

For the Liberal Democrats Gary Spencer-Holmes provided a welcome bright spot by coming third in Central St Leonards with 8.9% of the vote, though elsewhere their electoral woes continued as Sue Tait and Stewart Rayment came last in Central St Leonards and Old Hastings and Tressell respectively.


Full results

Central St Leonards

Terri Dowling (Lab) 481 votes (44%)

John Rankin (Con) 259 votes (23.7%)

Clive Gross (Ind) 184 votes (16.8%)

Kevin Hill (Ukip) 77 votes (7%)

Al Dixon (Green) 75 votes (6.9%)

Sue Tait (Lib Dem) 17 votes (1.6%)


St Helens

Martin Clarke (Con) 663 votes (43.5%)

Graham Crane (Lab) 557 votes (36.5%)

Gary Spencer-Holmes (Lib Dem) 136 votes (8.9%)

Ken Pankhurst (Ukip) 120 votes (7.9%)

Chris Petts (Green) 48 votes (3.1%)


Old Hastings and Tressell

Tania Charman (Lab) votes 961 (56.5%)

Robert Cooke (Con) votes 368 (21.6%)

Sebastian Norton (Ukip) 174 votes (10.2%)

Andrea Needham (Green) votes 149 (8.8%)

Stewart Rayment (Lib Dem) votes 48 (2.8%)


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Posted 15:20 Wednesday, Jul 15, 2015 In: Campaigns

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