Friday, 3 May 2019

District Council elections: "Independents deliver blow to the Conservatives'" > further reports

The District Council has just released the full results of the election:
3 May 2019 - East Devon District Council election results 2019 - East Devon

With latest reports from the Herald:
How did Sidmouth and Ottery vote in East Devon elections 2019? | Election | Sidmouth Herald
Conservatives ousted from Ottery EDDC seats | Latest Sidmouth and Ottery News - Sidmouth Herald

This is from their summary: 

'East Devon District Council elections: Independents deliver blow to the Conservatives'

PUBLISHED: 19:06 03 May 2019 | UPDATED: 22:07 03 May 2019

Chris Carson

Tory defector and council leader Ian Thomas amongst the winners

It was Independents day as the East Devon District Council election results were announced today (Friday, May 3).

Candidates not affiliated to any of the main stream Parties recorded some significant victories, topping the poll in several wards. Both pure independents and members of the Independent East Devon Alliance did well.

Jenny Brown was one of the Conservative Party casualties – losing her bid to win a Honiton St Paul's ward seat, after switching from the St Michael's ward which she presented for four years. She ended just one vote behind fellow Tory and sitting member Dean Barrow – the voting was 385-384. Independent Tony McCollum topped the poll with 632.

EDDC leader Ian Thomas retained his Trinity Ward seat – despite his shock resignation from the Conservative Party shortly before the elections. He defeated his Labour Party rival Sarah Birnie by 635 votes to 249. Although still listed on the ballot paper as a Tory, Cllr Thomas said he had personally written to more than 2,000 electors in the ward to make it clear he would be serving as a independent councillor if elected. “I have done my best not to mislead anyone,” he stressed. Councillor Thomas will remain leader of the council until the annual meeting on May 22.

Cllr Iain Chubb, from Axminster, retained his seat on the Newbridges Ward for the Conservatives, defeating the Labour Party candidate George Neate by 617 votes to 216. There was a 42.6 per cent turnout. Cllr Chubb said: “I am pleased to be re-elected after serving for 12 years and working positively for the people in East Devon as a whole, helping to provide a good service efficiently.”

Independent Geoff Pook won the Beer and Branscombe seat, beating Labour Party candidate John Gregory by 601 votes to 106. He said: “I would like to thank everyone who voted and to John Gregory for making it a competition. I look forward to representing everyone in this extended ward now including West Seaton and hope that the people of West Seaton don't hesitate to contact me if they have any issues.”

Conservative Phil Twiss topped the poll in the Honiton St Michael's ward with 790 votes. Fellow Tory Mike Allen was second with 763 and Liberal Democrat Luke Jeffery took the third seat with 700 votes.

Cllr Allen said: “I am delighted Phil Twiss and I have been re-elected so we can continue to serve well as we have done for the past eight years or more. But clearly there has been a very strong protest vote nationally with the number of Conservative votes down. We will make sure the district council remains strongly orientated towards economic growth and good housing whilst protecting the environment.”

At Ottery St Mary Independents took all three seats. Vicky Johns topped the poll with 1,501 votes, with Geoff Pratt in second place with 1,044, followed by Peter Faithfull with 878. The turnout was 37.8 per cent Vicky Johns put her victory down to asking people what they wanted and listening to their answers. She also praised her campaign manager Roger Giles.

At Axminster Sarah Jackson, standing for the first time as an Independent East Devon Alliance candidate, topped the poll with 1,001 votes. Both sitting Conservatives, district council chairman Andrew Moulding and Ian Hall, with 818 and 740 votes respectively, were returned, but veteran Liberal Democrat Douglass Hull lost his long-held seat.

Speaking after her win Sarah Jackson, standing as the only independent candidate in the Axminster election, said: “I am absolutely elated and looking forward to it. I believe your local elected representatives should answer to the public, not their party. Axminster has so much to offer and potentially a great future…we can unlock Axminster's potential without destroying its unique charm.”

Another Independent East Devon Alliance candidate – Axminster town councillor and former mayor Paul Hayward - won the Yarty ward with 492 votes, ahead of Tory Alasdair Bruce on 296.

And at Seaton East Devon Independent Alliance candidates Dan Ledger and former mayor Jack Rowland were elected with 1,561 votes and 1,392 votes respectively The third seat was retained by Conservative Marcus Hartnell. Former mayor and sitting member Liberal Democrat Peter Burrows lost his seat.


Independents do well in EDDC poll | Honiton, Axminster and Seaton news - Midweek Herald

This is Devon Live's take on things - including a handy video: 

Full results as Conservatives lose control of East Devon District Council

Independent councillors as well as the East Devon Alliance made sweeping gains across the whole of the district, with leader of the EDA, Cllr Cathy Gardner saying it showed that the people want real change.

Daniel Clark
Local Democracy Reporter
19:34, 3 MAY 2019



For the first time since the council was created in 1974, the Conservatives have lost control of East Devon District Council.

Independent councillors as well as the East Devon Alliance made sweeping gains across the whole of the district, with leader of the EDA, Cllr Cathy Gardner saying it showed that the people want real change.

Heading into the election, the Conservatives had control of the council, with 34 seats. The Independent Group were the official opposition, with 14 councillors, while the Liberal Democrats hold seven seats with three further Independents, and one seat vacant, making up the 59 councillors.

Two Conservative councillors though, including the leader of the council, Ian Thomas, had since quit the party, with Cllr Thomas is standing and successfully being re-elected as an independent.

Council leader calls for "end of May" after disastrous day for Mid Devon Tories

Final results leave the Independents as the largest party on the council with 20 seats. The Conservatives suffered 15 losses to end on 19, while the East Devon Alliance gained seven seats to end on 11.

The Liberal Democrats hold eight seats, up one from where they started, while the Green Party gained two seats in Exmouth.

East Devon results

Between the East Devon Alliance and the Independents, they hold 31 seats, which would be enough to control the council and have a majority. But it not yet clear whether a coalition between them would be formed, and as the Independent councillors include the former leader of the council Ian Thomas, not all Independents would sit in the main group.

Full results as Conservatives lose overall control in Mid Devon

Cllr Ben Ingham, the leader of the Independent Group, and who retained his Woodbury and Lympstone seat, said that he was delighted with the results that showed it was very clear the voters do not want the Conservatives to run the council.

He said that discussions would begin as to how many of the 20 Independent councillors elected would be sitting in the Independent Group and what form of alliance of coalition with the various parties that the electorate voted for could be formed. He added: "The hard work that we put over the last four years has paid off though and I am delighted that the electorate backed our message."

East Devon Alliance leader Cllr Cathy Gardner, who was re-elected in the Sidmouth town ward, said that the results showed a real desire for change in East Devon.

She said: “I am delighted with how things have gone. I think the results are the result of four years of hard work by us – and even more – starting with what Claire Wright did prior to 2015. The people have seen what we are doing and that we have done a good job, and we placed in first place in a large number of wards. 
The people of East Devon want real change and we can give it to them. This is a historic day for the East Devon Alliance and Independents right across the district and for the losses the Conservatives have felt.”

She added that discussions as to who would lead the council had not yet taken place, although she said that she imagined not all of those Independent councillors elected would sit as part of the Independent Group, who themselves would have to have a vote on who their leader would be, with it currently being Ben Ingham.

Cllr Paul Arnott, chairman of the EDA, and who won a seat in Coly Valley, added: "We would like to thank the voters of East Devon for electing all 11 of our candidates. We will now spend the next week seeking to forge alliances with other councillors willing to work with us to continue to our fight for reform of local governance. We believe that in East Devon this result was not about Brexit but an expression of a hope for positive change to how things are done in our villages, towns and district. Our mission now will be to deliver that change with complete determination in the interests of all local people."

Gains made by Independents included the former owner of the Fun Park on Exmouth seafront Chris Wright, and Save Exmouth Seafront campaigner Nick Hookway taking seats in the Exmouth Littleham ward, while the East Devon Alliance topped the polls in all wards in the Axe Valley.

Losses for the Conservatives included the former leader of the council Paul Diviani finishing last in the Broadclyst ward he stood in.

Full results as Liberal Democrats take control in Teignbridge

The composition of the council currently is the Independents on 20, the Conservatives on 19, the East Devon Alliance on 11, the Liberal Democrats on eight and the Green Party on two.

It is unclear yet who would run the council which is currently under no overall control, although it is likely that the East Devon Alliance and a majority of the Independents could work together as the largest group to run a minority council.

Full results as Conservatives lose control of East Devon District Council - Devon Live


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