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Tuesday, 16 September 2014

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Tories jubilant after by-election

CONSERVATIVE Bob Maltman was today returning to the role of Newbarns councillor after winning last night’s by-election.

The 53-year-old received 478 votes – 52 per cent of the total counted – to secure the vacant Newbarns seat on Barrow Borough Council.

Labour candidate Lorraine Biggins, 46, came second with 177 votes.

Peoples Party candidate Sarah Martinez, 27, was third with 155 votes.

British National Party candidate Mike Ashburner, 54, came last with 104 votes.

Councillor Maltman, a signalman and divorced father-of-two of West Shore Park, Walney, is not new to life at the town hall.

He was on the council for 11 years before being voted out in the May 2008 elections.

After yesterday’s victory, he said: “I’m delighted to be back so I can help the people of Newbarns and Barrow.

“It’s in sad circumstances after the death of Colin Liversedge.”

Asked the first thing he planned to address, he replied: “We’ve got one or two minor traffic problems that I’d like to try and get sorted out, working with all agencies to come to the best solution for everybody. It’s good to be back and I look forward to working with everyone on the council.”

Tory chief and council leader, Councillor Jack Richardson, described the victory as “quite an outstanding success” and said it showed people’s confidence in their Conservative candidate.

Labour group leader, Councillor Dave Pidduck, said: “Obviously, we’re disappointed we didn’t take Newbarns, Lorraine was an excellent candidate and we fought a straight-forward campaign.

“At the end of the day, we’re doing our bit, we’re letting people know that the Labour Party is here for them and hopefully people will start to come out and support us again.”

Peoples Party leader, Councillor Jim Hamezeian, said he was disappointed.

He said lots of people in Newbarns had pledged support for his party because of its policies.

“But unfortunately that didn’t materialise,” he said.

And of Miss Martinez, Cllr Hamezeian said: “Sarah is a hardworking member of the Peoples Party and I’m sure she will eventually win a seat for the Peoples Party.”

Cllr Hamezeian said it was sad 104 people had voted BNP. He claimed the BNP was racist but said he was sure most people who voted for the party didn’t realise that and were not racist themselves.

When asked by the Evening Mail, Mr Ashburner has always insisted that neither he nor the BNP is racist.

And after the result, Mr Ashburner said: “I’m very pleased, it was a reasonable result. We’re not too far behind the second and third places. It shows we’ve got a sizeable amount of support in a Conservative ward.”

Asked if the BNP would stand again in Barrow, Mr Ashburner replied: “Yes, definitely. We’ll be standing in every election that comes up. It’s the county council elections next year.

“I’ll definitely be standing next year, plus possibly other (BNP) candidates.”

The by-election was held as a result of the death of Conservative Colin Liversedge, one of three Newbarns councillors elected in May 2008.

The turnout in the ward then was 29.89 per cent.

Yesterday’s turnout was 21.92 per cent.

No party has a majority and overall control of the council.

The Conservatives are the biggest group, with 17 of the 36 seats in the town hall.

They usually need support from other councillors when trying to get their policies passed in the council chamber.

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