Lib Dems win Telford & Wrekin Lawley by-election by one vote

The Liberal Democrats are celebrating a close win in the Lawley and Overdale Parish Council by-election.

Lib Dem Catherine Salter took 140 votes, to the Conservative’s 139, with Labour trailing a distant third on 69 votes. The independent candidate came fourth with 38 votes.

The focus of Cllr Salter’s campaign was engaging with and listening to local residents’ concerns about speeding, lack of public transport and poor finishing of new estates by developers.

Catherine Salter and Greg Spruce

“The message we got on the doorsteps was that people feel taken for granted here,” said Cllr Salter. “I am so grateful for the trust Lawley has put in me. Having listened to residents, I am now in a position to act on their concerns.”

Local party officials reflected on benefiting from discontent with the Conservatives in a similar fashion to the surprise Lib Dem victory in the recent Chesham and Amersham parliamentary by-election.

“People feel let down by the Tories and Labour here and we did benefit from that,” highlighted Telford Lib Dem Vice-Chair Greg Spruce. “In places like Lawley, it is now Lib Dem or Conservative – Labour are in a distant third. I hope the message people take from this election is that we can win in Telford, and if local people want a hard-working Lib Dem councillor, they just need to vote for one.”

The full results of the by-election were:

* Greg Spruce is Press Officer Telford and Wrekin Liberal Democrats

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  • Brad Barrows 16th Jul '21 - 6:20pm

    A victory is a victory, whatever the margin, but the real story is that the turnout was just 18%. That should concern everyone who values democracy.

  • Ian Patterson 16th Jul '21 - 6:53pm

    Anyone care to explain the Sandwell result?

  • John Marriott 16th Jul '21 - 7:59pm

    The turnout reflects many things; the time of year, the usual circumstances due to COVID, the type of council. What it tells me is just how little interest there is in local government, especially in the third tier. But, as Brad says, a victory is a victory. Better than deciding it by the toss of a coin that happened a few years ago in a District Council election around here!

  • Chris Bertram 16th Jul '21 - 11:27pm

    @Ian Patterson: the campaign, such as it was, consisted of a desultory amount of social media postings only, with no paper going through doors. If this was an experiment to show just how ineffective that can be, it succeeded on those terms.

  • John Marriott 17th Jul '21 - 8:21am

    Mind you, from my experience of Parish/Town Council elections by or not, having an election, however ‘improper’, beats co option any time! I wonder who paid for it? Where I live it’s not the District Council had picks up the bill for a by-election.

  • Mark Lawrence 17th Jul '21 - 10:50am

    Am I alone in thinking party politics shouldn’t play a part in parish council elections? Larger towns maybe.
    John Marriot, the parish would have to pick up the bill for a bye election which is why co-option or a decision by remaining councillors is often chosen, if there is more than one candidate! An election only happens when more than, I think 10, electors write in requesting one.

  • @Mark Lawrence

    You do rather answer your own question. Firstly if the electorate don’t want an election then 10 of them won’t back an election. Secondly I note that there was an independent standing here – so if they wanted to vote for a non-party candidate they could have.

  • John Marriott 17th Jul '21 - 9:19pm

    @Mark Lawrence
    I am fairly sure that some District Councils are prepared to fund by-elections. If anyone wishes to trigger such an election, it’s not that difficult to do. I have known of examples where an election has been called and only one candidate has put in their nomination papers.

    This ‘non political’ stuff can lead to some bizarre situations. I remember, for example, that one of our town councillors stood as a ‘housewife’ for town and a conservative for District when both councils were up for elections. When I was on the County Council, we had a few ‘Independent’ members who sat as Conservatives on their District Councils and vice versa. Mind you, Lincolnshire is a funny place.

  • Barry Fleet 19th Jul '21 - 1:10pm

    A co-option or an election depends where you are : Witham Town Council has a by election shortly and hasn’t had a co – option for over 35 years to my certain knowledge. The bigger the community, the more likely a party political basis will apply, and therefore co- options are not then welcome despite the cost of an election.

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