Liberal Democrats triumph in London Colney Parish Council by-election

Liberal Democrat Tony Lillico, who has won the London Colney Parish Council by-election, with parlia

Liberal Democrat Tony Lillico, who has won the London Colney Parish Council by-election, with parliamentary candidate Daisy Cooper. Picture: St Albans Liberal Democrats. - Credit: Archant

The Liberal Democrats have won the London Colney Parish Council by-election.

The party’s candidate, Tony Lillico, secured the North West ward by defeating Conservative Stephen Pearl by 233 votes to 215 on a turnout of 18.5 per cent.

Cllr Lillico said: “I’m very happy to have won. It’s something I have been wanting to do for a while and the parish council needs a bit of a shake-up from someone outside the existing little group of people on the issues in the village around development and sorting out some of the crime issues.

“I think there is a real opportunity to get some momentum for change in London Colney.”

Labour did not take part in the election, calling it “totally unnecessary” in a leaflet and claiming it cost the taxpayer over £5,000.

The leaflet accused the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives of “financial irresponsibility” for refusing to be co-opted (where the council select someone, rather than holding a full election) onto the council and instead forcing a by-election, when the winning candidate will have to stand again next year when the whole council is up for re-election.

London Colney campaigner Brett Ellis said: “We saw the latest vacancy posted in the Caledon Club so we put a petition together to call an election and let the people decide.

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“The Tory and Lib Dem candidates and I had a reasonable discussion and they both wanted to stand, as is their right. Then the parish council contacted both asking them to co-opt.

“By then the election had been called and they decided they wanted to run a campaign on their own merits and let the people decide who they want to represent them.

“It’s unethical for a political party, at whatever level, who are not standing in an election, to print derogatory and ultimately untrue comments designed to attack those standing whilst interfering with the democratic process.”

However, St Albans Labour leader Roma Mills said: “Considering the relatively short timescale for the by-election, I think [not putting up a candidate] was a pragmatic and sensible thing.

“If the whole parish council was up for re-election, they would have put forward a candidate, but as it was a short term and because we had a by-election recently, it seemed sensible.”