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Friday, 31 July 2015

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Tories and Lib Dems hold Carlisle by-election seats

Neither seat changed hands in the two Carlisle city council by-elections held yesterday.

Conservative Gareth Ellis romped home with a majority of almost 400 in Belah.

And the foundations of a Carlisle political dynasty were laid in the city-centre Castle ward where Liberal Democrat  Colin Farmer was elected.

Mr Farmer, 43, joins his parents, Peter and Nan Farmer, who are already Liberal Democrat councillors for Morton.

He said: “I just want to make a difference and make Castle ward a better place for people to live in.

“I’m not certain of what’s expected of me at the moment. It’s going to be a huge learning curve.”

In contrast, the victorious Conservative in Belah will be in familiar surroundings at the Civic Centre.

Mr Ellis, 34, is a former councillor for Botcherby who has served on the ruling executive.

He predicted tough times ahead for the council.

“We are going to see a colossal tightening of public spending nationally,” he said.

“Because the council is very dependent on grants from central government, we have to put ourselves in a position to cope.

“We will have to look long and hard and make decisions on what services the people of Carlisle need.”

Labour came second in both wards but it was a disappointing night for the British National Party and the Greens.

Both failed to make a hoped-for breakthrough.

The results leave the Conservatives in control of the hung council with the support of Liberal Democrats.

Labour remains the largest party with 23 councillors.

There are 21 Conservatives, seven Liberal Democrats and one Independent.

The by-election in Belah was called following the death of Conservative Sandra Fisher in December.

The poll in Castle was triggered by the resignation of Liberal Democrat Kimberly Hunter in January.

BELAH: Hazel Bowmaker (Green), 61; Tony Carvell (BNP), 142; Gareth Ellis (Con), 700; Paul Im Thurn (Lab), 307; Dave Miller (Ind), 221; James Osler (Lib Dem), 79. CON HOLD. Majority: 393. Turnout: 31.4 per cent.
CASTLE: Alistair Barbour (BNP), 255; Steven Bowditch (Lab), 304; Colin Farmer (Lib Dem), 465; John Reardon (Green), 125; Allan Stevenson (Con), 143. LIB DEM HOLD. Majority: 161. Turnout: 30.4 per cent.


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