Fringe Box



Labour Win in Stoke After Close Fought By-election Contest

Published on: 6 May, 2016
Updated on: 7 May, 2016
James Walsh Victor

Winning candidate James Walsh, the new Labour ward councillor for Stoke.

The Labour borough council candidate, James Walsh, has won a close fought three-way-fight in the Stoke by-election. The result was announced this afternoon (May 6) just after 4pm.

Less than 40 votes separated the three candidates. The result was: James Walsh (Lab) 528, Barry Keane (Con) 497, Hannah Thompson (Lib Dem) 492. The turnout was 27 per cent.

The make up of the 48 seat council is now: Conservative 34, Liberal Democrat 9, Guildford Greenbelt Group 3, Labour 2.

Speaking minutes after the result was announced, James Walsh said: “I am a bit stunned. It was a very close fought election, and the feeling on the doorstep was that it could go any which way, as the close result proved.

“It takes time to sink in. I really feel a weight on my shoulders now I am elected.

Asked how he would make sure he would represent all the people of his ward, given the fairly even split of votes, Cllr Walsh said: “I have not got into politics to be partisan. You have to look after everyone. So if someone comes to me who voted, say, Conservative, of course I would still help them.

“It is any councillor’s job to represent a ward, not just a party political interest.

“I have a lot to learn. I was a councillor in Slough but I think there is a different way of working in Guildford.

“Where there are causes of common interest with councillors of different parties you have to work together to get things done. But where there are differences I am not afraid to express them.

“One issue that I will focus on, which came at came up on a hell of a lot of door steps, is pot-holes. I know it is a Surrey County Council responsibility but part of my role is as an advocate, so I intend to go to the county council and suggest that at least we get a patching programme started. It is a real issue.”

Cllr Caroline Reeves [Lib Dem Friary & St Nicolas], leader of the Lib Dem group at GBC, said: “It was an extremely close result. All candidates appeared to work very hard.

“We know our candidate, Hannah, was very committed and very involved with the Stoke residents. She is obviously very disappointed with the outcome. But we hope that the promises that have been made by the winning candidate will be carried out.

Asked if Ms Thompson would try again Cllr Reeves said: “Absolutely, yes. She is very committed to Stoke.”

The Conservative candidate, Barry Keane, declined to comment.

Share This Post

Responses to Labour Win in Stoke After Close Fought By-election Contest

  1. Paul Spooner Reply

    May 6, 2016 at 8:10 pm

    Given the opinion of the Guildford Dragon that wrote off the Conservative candidate I look forward to an apology to Mr Keane for the usual Dragon editorial partisan position in relation to the elected majority group at Guildford Borough Council.

    I congratulate Cllr Walsh and look forward to welcoming him in the council chamber at the next full council meeting.

    Paul Spooner is the Con ward councillor for Ash South & Tongham and council leader.

  2. Bernard Parke Reply

    May 6, 2016 at 8:15 pm

    Which such a low turnout anything could happen.

    However, I wish the winner good luck in his service to the people of Guildford.

  3. Adrian Atkinson Reply

    May 7, 2016 at 8:57 am

    Cllr Spooner should get Cllr Moseley to apologise. What is they say about people living in glass houses?

  4. Phil Clinton Reply

    May 7, 2016 at 5:40 pm

    Brilliant news that we have another independent minded voice on the council.

    Having one party dominate isn’t great for democracy and the Conservative party should welcome opposition and debate – Surrey is not North Korea!

    Please accept the defeat with good grace.

  5. Nick Trier Reply

    May 7, 2016 at 8:22 pm

    Irrespective of party, many Stoke residents have a deep respect and affection for Angela Gunning, the continuing Labour councillor.

    It is great that they have now elected James Walsh to share her responsibilities and support her as one of the few councillors committed to social justice rather than protecting the privileges of elites.

  6. David Roberts Reply

    May 9, 2016 at 5:28 pm

    It was obviously not “The Dragon wot won it” for Labour, but the Conservatives who lost it – rather to their surprise, judging by the reaction.

    The leader of the council spends too much time demanding apologies and retractions from all sorts of people, about all sorts of things.

Leave a Comment

Please see our comments policy. All comments are moderated and may take time to appear.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *