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Conservative victory in Wirral by-elections
WIRRAL Tories came out on top at last night’s by-elections.
Residents in Heswall and Leasowe and Moreton East voted for Conservative councillors following the deaths of Cllr Peter Johnson and Cllr Anne McArdle.
The by-elections leave Labour with 36 seats and still in overall control of Wirral Council, Conservatives have 22 and the Liberal Democrats seven.
Ian Lewis, who lost his Leasowe and Moreton East seat last May, was re-elected in the area while former mayoress Kathryn Hodson pulled in the most votes in Heswall ward.
Heswall saw a turn-out of just 19.7% with Conservatives scoring a majority of 794.
UKIP candidate David Scott received 460 votes; Labour’s Mike Holliday 289; Green Party’s Barbara Burton, 110 and Trade Unionists and Socialists Against Cuts Greg North polled 19 votes.
Councillor Kathryn Hodson said she was now looking forward to working for Heswall residents.
She said: “I am absolutely delighted with the result but am of course saddened by the circumstances in which the by-election took place as Cllr Johnson was a good friend.
“The turn-out was low but that was to be expected due to the weather and the percentage of people voting Conservative has gone up.
“I have been involved in local politics for a long time with my husband Andrew who is also Heswall councillor and as mayoress.
"But my job now is to make a very strong team in Heswall ward and do our utmost to make sure that Heswall get good value for their council tax as they are highest payers in the borough.”
Turn-out in Leasowe and Moreton East was higher at 30.5% with Cllr Lewis getting 1,620 votes while actress and comedienne Pauline Daniels, who stood for Labour, followed closely behind with 1,355.
UKIP candidate Susan Whitham polled 148 votes; Trade Unionists and Socialists Against Cuts candidate, 31; while Green Party’s Jim McGinley and Lib Dem Daniel Clein both received 28 votes.
Councillor Lewis said: “In a general election, most people in Leasowe and Moreton vote Labour but a council by-election is very different from a general election.
“On the doorsteps, people were telling us how they would vote for me, whatever the party, because I was committed to putting the needs of the community first and party politics second.
"Labour fought this campaign on national issues when people wanted a councillor to deal with local problems, and they used negative campaigning when people want positive reasons to vote for someone.
"In what are difficult economic and political times, locally as well as nationally, winning Leasowe and Moreton East was always going to be an uphill struggle.
"However, thanks to a brilliant team of volunteers from the local community and beyond, and fighting this election on local issues, we managed to pull off a fantastic win."