Tories sweep up in Rother by-elections

A CONSERVATIVE clean sweep in Rother's three by elections saw the party hold on to seats made vacant by recent resignations.

The wards of St Mark's, Kewhurst and Sackville were all convincingly won by the ruling group as voters visited the polls in impressive numbers.

Former Town Mayor Martin Kenward was elected in Kewhurst Ward with 1,141 votes.

Patrick Douart is the new member for St Mark's after receiving 863 votes and Keith Standring will represent Sackville after winning with 655 votes.

The results were announced at the Town Hall at just after 12.30am last Friday.

Ward vacancies were as a result of former members Stuart Earl, Martin Horscroft and Graham Oliver all recently standing down.

Some 44 per cent of the electorate turned out for the Kewhurst election.

Coming in second was Lib Dem candidate John Zipperlen with 525 votes and third was Labour's Abdulla Khan with 99.

Things were tighter in Sackville Ward but Keith Standring was still elected with a majority of 89. Martyn Forster took the runner up spot with 566 votes, with Labour's Philipa Coughlan polling 134 votes. Turn out was 38 per cent.

A strong turn out of 45 per cent in St Mark's Ward saw Patrick Douart selected as their representative on the district council. Behind him came Rachel Hills of the Lib Dems with 538, UKIP candidate Tony Smith with 185 and 92 votes for Labour's Stephanie Webb.

Conservative leader Graham Gubby said: "The Conservative Party has had a tremendous boost following the local elections. David Cameron's programme of modernisation and greater inclusion has been accepted by the electorate.

"He has an infectious passion to give everybody the right to a genuine say in their future, on issues that affect them day by day - so do we, as Conservative district and county councillors.

"Our policies are clear, our leadership is strong and we deliver excellent services at a cost lower than other parties can achieve. I am obviously really pleased to retain the three by-election seats and pay tribute to my colleagues and our supporters.

"I am looking forward to them joining a very successful team and helping us develop our programme of work for the next few years.

"I am even more pleased that the turn-out of voters was between 38 per cent and 45 per cent - this is good news for us, good news for democracy but more importantly, good news for our residents who are now having a greater say in their future.

"I pledge to continue to listen to the majority, give good leadership and respond with decisions that are aimed at giving everyone in Rother a better quality of life."