By-election victory for Labour’s Danny Brookes

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A BY-ELECTION held for Skegness Town Council’s vacant Winthorpe ward seat has been won Labour’s Danny Brookes.

Mr Brookes’ 311 votes defeated UKIP’s Chris Payne who received 248 votes and the Conservative Party candidate Michelle Martin for whom 217 voted.

Speaking after the count held at Skegness Town Hall on Thursday evening, Mr Brookes said: “I’m over the moon and would like to thank everyone who voted for me and all of the team who supported my election campaign.

“I’m looking forward to representing Winthorpe as a councillor, I think it’s going to be hard work but I feel I am up to the challenge.”

Mr Brookes will now sign his formal declaration accepting his duties as councillor and should be ready to attend the next full town council meeting, on Wednesday, May 9, which is also the annual town meeting.

While Mr Brookes and his Labour colleagues were in celebratory mood, his opponents have reflected upon the result with a mixture emotions.

Defeated UKIP candidate Chris Payne remained upbeat about his second place, which he felt represented a shift in the voters’ attitudes away from historic notions of dogmatic party allegiances towards a more considered and open political approach.

He said: “Speaking to many people in the ward it became clear that many of them would have voted Labour or Conservative just because they always have, so to come second was a good result, which shows that some of the electorate are breaking away from their traditional views and are now looking more at the candidate’s policies.”

The Conservatives had less to lose than Labour in this by-election as it was a Labour councillor’s resignation that had created the vacant seat and so even in defeat the situation remains as it was upon completion of the last full election when they became the majority political party on SKegness Town Council.

Despite this. Skegness Conservative Party chairman John Cowpe was disappointed to have lost, which he feels was caused by a mixture of national issues and UKIP taking predominantly from its core voter base.

He said: “We are obviously very disappointed with the result -we feel we had an excellent candidate and a well organised campaign.

“I think national issues have probably had a lot to do with this - the government has had a difficult few weeks and I think that’s been reflected in the result here.”

Leading up to the by-election, there had been fears that changing the regular polling station at Seathorne Primary school to Skegness Town Hall, nearly two miles away, could have reduced turn out.

On the day, 23.1 per cent of the electorate voted, which most involved parties felt was a reasonably healthy turn out for a one-seat town council by-election.

Mr Brookes said: “I don’t think that‘s a bad turn out at all, many people were clearly determined to have their say.”