The Independent Alliance has retained the Kirkby South seat in a Nottinghamshire County Council by-election and will continue as the joint opposition group at the authority.
The county council did not hold a full election on Thursday but one seat was up for grabs in Ashfield.
Kirkby South was vacated by departing politician Daniel Williamson (Ash Ind), who retained it as an Ashfield Independent candidate in May 2021.
He inherited the seat from previous Ashfield Independent incumbent Rachel Madden, who did not seek re-election in the poll two years ago.
But now Cllr Madden has again won an election in the Kirkby South division after successfully beating Labour and the Conservatives on May 4.
The new councillor, who also secured victory in Annesley and Kirkby Woodhouse on Ashfield District Council, received 1,680 votes in the by-election.
Labour’s Lorraine Fagan received 1,017 votes and finished in second place, with the Conservatives’ Sam Howlett receiving 584 votes in third.
Turnout for the by-election was 35.13 per cent, Ashfield District Council confirmed at its district-wide voting count on Friday morning (May 5).
It means the Independent Alliance continues to sit as the joint opposition party at County Hall alongside Labour. Both parties occupy 15 seats.
The ruling Conservatives have 35 seats, while Cllr Steve Garner (Ind) makes up the final seat in the County Hall chamber.
A victory for either Labour or the Conservatives would have seen the Independents demoted back to the minority opposition group at the council.
The group, which includes 10 Ashfield Independents, four unaligned independents and one Liberal Democrat, became joint opposition last November after Cllr Kane Oliver (Ind) won the Eastwood by-election.
Cllr Madden said: “Listening to the people on the doorstep, my main priority has to be the state of the roads and pavements throughout the county.
“We pay our council tax up front, isn’t it time it’s paid back to Ashfield?
“It’s an enormous boost to my morale to know people out there think I can do this job to the best of my ability.
“All I can do is thank the people who turned out and put their cross against my name. It’s a wonderful feeling and I promise to do my best over the next two years.”
Below is the Kirkby South by-election result in full:
Lorraine Fagan – Labour (1,017)
Sam Howlett – Conservatives (584)
Rachel Madden – Ashfield Independents (1,680)
ASH IND HOLD
The victory came amidst a swathe of Ashfield Independent victories in the district council election that saw the group maintain control of the authority.
The group’s majority was increased after it returned 32 out of 35 seats in 2023, compared with 30 in 2019.
The Conservatives won two seats, while Labour returned one.
Senior group politicians including leader Cllr Jason Zadrozny and deputy leader Cllr Helen-Ann Smith both comfortably secured their return to the Kirkby-in-Ashfield chamber.
However, the authority’s other deputy leader Cllr David Martin was the most high-profile Ashfield Independent loss after losing to Conservative Cllr Dawn Justice in Underwood.
But controversial former council leader Cllr Tom Hollis (Ash Ind) successfully returned to the authority in the Huthwaite and Brierley ward.
It came months after his convictions for careless driving and harassment without violence during two separate trials at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court.
Labour lost both its seats in Hucknall South to the Ashfield Independents but gained Carsic from the group when Cllr Cathy Mason returned to politics.
Cllr Phil Rostance (Con) kept hold of his Hucknall West seat for the Conservatives, with the remaining two Tory seats falling to the Independents.
Overall, the election result means the Ashfield Independents have 32 seats in the council chamber, with the Conservatives on two and Labour on one.
Four years ago, Labour returned two seats and the Tories won three – meaning both parties lost one net seat overall.
Turnout for the district-wide poll was 32 per cent, which was down from 38 per cent four years ago.