Conservatives claim victory in St Albans council by-election - UPDATED

Ballot box

Ballot box - Credit: Archant

The Conservatives are celebrating victory after their two candidates came out on top in yesterday’s double by-election.

Steve McKeown and Richard Curthoys will be joining Salih Gaygusuz as councillors for Marshalswick South, after receiving the most votes in last night’s district council ballot.

Despite the victory, the Conservative majority was slashed in the ward.

The by-election comes after two Conservative councillors stepped down last year.

Former councillors, Heidi Allen and Seema Kennedy, are now both Tory parliamentary councillors for South Ribble and South East Cambs respectively.

Conservative leader Julian Daly said: “I’m pleased to see we had a convincing win after a hard fought local campaign.

“Although the by-election was in January, on a freezing day, the relatively high turnout at 37.5 per cent shows that the residents realised that effective control of the council was at stake. I appreciate that the voters gave our team a vote of confidence.

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“Richard Curthoys, Steve McKeown and Cllr Salih Gaygusuz worked hard throughout the campaign period. They put in hundreds of hours to knock on every door. I think that commitment is recognised by the voters and

Richard and Steve are welcome additions to the local Conservative team.”

Newly elected Cllr Curthoys added: “I would like to express our thanks to the residents of Marshalswick South Ward who turned out to vote at the by-election. The weather was bitterly cold with snow flurries during the day and temperatures which dropped well below freezing after sunset. For us it was a humbling experience to see so many people brave the elements to cast their votes.

“Whether the residents voted for us or not, Salih, Steve and I pledge ourselves to do everything we can to help the good people of Marshalswick South and the wider St Albans district council area a great place to live and work.”

Sandy Walkington, Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate, said: “This was the last real test of voting intention in St Albans before the General Election. The five percent swing from the Conservatives to Liberal Democrats is more than enough to overturn Anne Main’s Westminster majority. The Liberal Democrats are now confirmed as the clear main challenger in St Albans.”

The votes were counted at the council’s offices in St Peter’s Street after the polling stations closed at 10pm, with a voter turnout of 37.5 per cent.

Here is the vote breakdown:

Richard Curthoys - Conservative Party - 647 (E)

David Francis Dickson - UK Independence Party (UKIP) - 148

Richard Harris - Labour Party - 406

Michael David Hollins - UK Independence Party (UKIP) - 147

Steve McKeown - Conservative Party - 667 (E)

Jill Mills - Green Party - 450

Elizabeth Ann Needham - Liberal Democrat - 488

Mark Anthony Pedroz - Liberal Democrat - 495

Tim Robinson - Green Party - 166

Vivienne Windle - Labour Party - 312