Saturday, August 02, 2008

Conservative collapse in Gateshead By-election

The Conservatives were squeezed heavily in a by-election in Gateshead on Thursday 31st July as Liberal Democrats and Labour fought to win the vacancy in Whickham South and Sunniside ward.

Liberal Democrat John McClurey was comfortably elected in the contest that saw the Conservative share of the vote halve from nearly 19% to just under 10%.

The Conservatives fell victim to a squeeze in a constituency that is squaring up to be a battle between Liberal Democrats and Labour at the general election.

The ward is in Blaydon constituency where Labour are defending a majority of only 5000 over the Liberal Democrats.

“I am delighted to have been elected,” said John, who took nearly three out of every four voted cast. “I want to thank everyone who voted for me in this by-election. I am joining a strong team of Liberal Democrat councillors in Gateshead.”

The by-election for the seat was caused by the death of Liberal Democrat Councillor, Alan Ord, following complications that arose after an operation.

The result was:
John McClurey (Lib Dem) 1612 (+4.4%)
Elaine Dobson (Labour) 394 (+4.2%)
John Robertson (Conservative) 217 (-8.6%)

Majority 1218

(Percentage changes since local elections in May 2008)

Photo taken at end of Whickham South and Sunniside count. Left to right: Marilynn Ord, Jonathan Wallace and newly elected John McClurey. All three represent Whickham South and Sunniside ward on Gateshead Council.

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