Tuesday 16 August 2022
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Nottingham

Independent candidate wins Collingham by-election

A newly-elected independent councillor paid tribute to her late predecessor after winning the Collingham Division county council by-election with a comfortable 1,100-vote majority.

Councillor Debbie Darby (Ind) secured 63.76 per cent of the vote to beat both the Labour and Conservative candidates during the poll on Thursday (February 17).

The independent councillor received 2,009 votes from a 31.4 per cent turnout of 3,151 residents, with Labour’s candidate Jennifer Kaye receiving 244 votes and Jack Kellas, the ruling Conservative group’s candidate, getting 898 votes.

She will now represent Collingham on Nottinghamshire County Council.

Her election victory follows the death of longstanding former independent Cllr Maureen Dobson, who died following a battle with cancer at the end of 2021.

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Speaking following her victory, Cllr Darby paid tribute to the late Cllr Dobson.

And she says roads, pavements and potential local government changes from devolution were the biggest talking points on the doorstep, adding she will fight for a return to A&E and maternity services at Newark Hospital.

She said: “This is as much a victory for our communities as it is a rejection of the mainstream political parties.  I’d like to thank everyone who put their faith in me, I won’t let them down.

“It is an enormous mandate and I am proud to be taking over from Maureen Dobson.  Maureen was a go-getter, someone who delivered results for Coddington, Collingham, Newark and our villages time and time again.

“It is a massive privilege and one I don’t take lightly.  Each and every time I get things done for our area, it will be a tribute to Maureen and Vincent Dobson and will be done as part of their legacy.

“I will fight to fix our broken roads and pavements, to return A&E and maternity services to Newark Hospital and for extra policing to make our area feel safer.

“There’s no doubt that the Conservatives took a hit because of the behaviour of people like Boris Johnson.  That said, this was a victory for our communities who are proud of our independent tradition.

“I will work for the whole community not just the huge number of people who voted for me, just like Maureen used to do.”

The new Collingham councillor will join the Independent Alliance within County Hall.

This will take the group, led by Cllr Jason Zadrozny (Ash Ind), to 14 councillors – one less than the official opposition Labour Group on 15.

There are a further 36 Conservative councillors and one independent – Cllr Steve Garner of Mansfield South.

Cllr Zadrozny said: “The Independent Alliance’s influence in County Hall continues to grow and we are delighted to welcome Debbie onto our growing team.

“Debbie is an energetic, hardworking local campaigner who will be perfect within our team of passionate Independents in County Hall.

“From day one she will join us to fight to fix our broken roads and pavements, for an A&E at Newark Hospital and much, much more.”

It comes after the Conservatives picked up a victory in the Newark and Sherwood District Council by-election for the same Collingham ward.

Newly-elected Cllr Emma Davis (Con) secured 982 votes, with Liberal Democrat Phil Barron receiving 594 votes and Labour’s Matthew Spoors getting 168 votes.

In a statement on social media, Cllr Davis said: “I am so grateful to everyone who came out to vote for me and to the wonderful team of people who have supported me.

“I look forward to working with you all.”

She added: “What an incredible experience. Now to make a positive impact.”

Cllr Davis’ election takes the ruling Conservative Group on the authority up to 30 seats, with six Labour councillors, two Liberal Democrats and one Independent making up the remainder of the 39-councillor chamber.

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