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Liberal Democrats take two seats in County elections and now only challengers to the Tories

June 9, 2009 2:10 PM

The County Council elections were a spectacular success for the local Liberal Democrats. A strong performance across Spelthorne was crowned by the election of two Councillors in the Lower Sunbury and Halliford and the Sunbury Common and Ashford Common divisions.

Caroline Nichols wins Lower Sunbury and Halliford County Division

Cllr Caroline NIchols won Sunbury with the largest individual vote and the largest turnout

Caroline Nichols won the traditionally safe Tory seat of Lower Sunbury and Halliford with an increase in vote of 22%. She overturned a Tory majority of 900 and won the seat by more than 1,000. The local Tories campaigned hard in the division, bringing in people from all over the borough and beyond, including the MP.

Ian Beardsmore winner of the Sunbury and Ashford Commons County Division

Cllr Ian Beardsmore has the highest Lib Dem majority of any Surrey Division

Ian Beardsmore won the Sunbury Common and Ashford Common seat for the third time. He increased his majority from only 150 in 2005 to a whopping 1,100. This was achieved despite the Tories declared intention of getting Ian out.

The poor Tory performance was underlined by their failure to take the seat of Stanwell and Stanwell Moor from Labour. But Labour have nothing to be cheerful about - this is now their only seat in Surrey.

So the make up of the county seats in Spelthorne is 4 Conservatives, 2 Liberal Democrats and 1 Labour. The Liberal Democrats got more votes than Labour in every Division other than Stanwell - the last enclave or Labour support in Spelthorne. With Labour seemingly on the road to oblivion the Liberal Democrats are the obvious alternatives to the Tories.

The Lib Dem share of the overall vote increased from 24% to just under 33%, despite UKIP standing in more seats than in 2005. The Tory share fell from 49% to 42%. With a gap of less than 10% between the parties in Spelthorne must now be regarded as being a marginal. With vote increases of 22% and 12% in the seats won by the Lib Dems, it looks like the next general election will be a close contest.