Liberal Democrats hold Kingston seat with 15% swing from Tories

July 17, 2015 9:48 AM
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The Liberal Democrats have won the Grove ward by-election in Kingston, Surrey with their biggest ever margin.

Jon Tolley defeated his closest rival, Conservative Jenny Lewington, by 889 votes in the byelection caused by the death of veteran Lib Dem councillor Chrissie Hitchcock, reported the Surrey Comet

The turnout for the election was 34.69 per cent, which is the average for a council byelection but significantly less than the 65.79 per cent of people who voted at the polls back in May on the same day as the general election.

The new Lib Dem councillor, who stood as an independent in the May election, said: "It has been a long election campaign and so many people have been involved. I owe so many people my thanks."

Coun Tolley owns Banquet Records in Kingston and puts on club night New Slang as well as many other music events.

When asked how he would juggle his late night work commitments and council meetings he said: "I know what I am getting myself in for.

"The whole reason for running is to make Kingston better than it currently is."

Lib Dem leader Liz Green said: "We are all so proud of Jon and he will make a great addition to Kingston Council."

UKIP candidate John Anderson said before the count had started that he expected a Tory loss.

He said: "The Tories will continue to lose these byelections until they face down the developers.

"Congratulations to Jon Tolley but he too must accept that over-development started years ago under the Lib Dems."

Labour's Laurie South walked away with 223 votes while Green candidate Clare Keogh got 88.

Mrs Lewington left the count before the Surrey Comet could speak to her.

Votes in full:

John Anderson- UKIP: 58

Clare Keogh- Green Party: 88

Jenny Lewington: Conservatives: 688

Laurie South- Labour: 223

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Jon Tolley- Liberal Democrat: 1577