Tory vic­tory not with­out a few shocks

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - ELECTION RESULTS - by Mike Ben­nett

THE Con­ser­va­tives now have even tighter con­trol of Ash­ford Bor­ough Coun­cil af­ter tak­ing 28 of the 43 seats in Thurs­day’s elec­tion.

The Lib­eral Democrats in­creased the num­ber of seats they hold to eight to take over as the lead­ing op­po­si­tion from the Ash­ford In­de­pen­dents.

But the shock re­sult was de­feat for Con­ser­va­tive cabi­net mem­ber Ian Cool­ing, who lost the Wye seat to the Ash­ford In­de­pen­dent can­di­date, farmer Jack Wood­ford.

It fol­lowed the row over the Tory stance on Im­pe­rial Col­lege’s con­tro­ver­sial pro­pos­als for a science park in the vil­lage.

For­mer Ash­ford In­de­pen­dent mayor Mal­colm Eke and his part­ner Carol Brunger were also both de­feated, but for­mer may­ors Michael Claughton (Con) and Palma Laughton (Ash Ind) both re­turned to serve.

Cur­rent Mayor Norman Ayres (Con) and mayor-elect Rita Hawes (Lib Dem) were also both re­turned, but an­other for­mer mayor, Les Lawrie, failed to get elected in his come­back bid.

Sit­ting mem­bers Harriet Yeo (Lab) and Mi­randa Kelly (Con) both lost their seats af­ter switch­ing wards, but for­mer coun­cil­lors Brian Nor­ris (Lib Dem), af­ter a re­count at Ayles­ford Green, and Bren­dan Naughton (Lab) both re­turn to the cham­ber.

How­ever, Jeremy Adby (Lib Dem) and Keith Bran­nan (Ash­ford In­de­pen­dent) both failed to re­gain seats.

Af­ter an­other re­count, Susan Heaton (Lib Dem), the widow of for­mer coun­cil­lor Bill Heaton, took High­field from the Ash­ford In­de­pen­dents.

The elec­tion was some­thing of a dis­as­ter for last year’s mayor and may­oress, Mal­colm Eke and Carol Brunger.

Mr Eke fin­ished bot­tom of the poll in the South Willes­bor­ough seat, which was won by lone In­de­pen­dent David Smith, and his part­ner polled just 93 votes in Singleton South, which was taken by Amanda Hodgkin­son (Con) with 335 votes.

Tory cabi­net mem­ber Neil Bell, who rep­re­sents Bid­den­den, will be joined in the cham­ber by his wife Clair, a for­mer aide to Folkestone and Hythe MP Michael Howard, on the back benches af­ter she took one of the Weald Cen­tral seats.

There was a shock win for Ash­ford In­de­pen­dent Jack Wood­ford in Wye, while last year’s mayor and may­oress Carol Brunger and Mal­com Eke both lost their seats

Coun­cil leader Cllr Paul Clokie ad­dresses the can­di­dates

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