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Lib Dems scoop Tory seat on Wycombe District Council
THE Liberal Democrats have snatched a seat off the Conservatives at a by-election on Wycombe District Council.
Jen Joseph won with 1,234 votes to Conservative Lashing Wanigasooriya’s 1,017 and Ian Bates’s 524 for Labour.
The by-election was called after sitting Tory member Joel Foley resigned to move away from the area.
It means the Lib Dems have eight councillors to the ruling Conservatives’’ 46. There are also two independents, two Labour and one member with no political party.
Cllr Joseph, a former HR worker for the council, said: “I am so proud of people of Totteridge for showing me their confidence by putting a cross next to my name.
“My priorities are whatever the priorities of the residents are.”
Group leader Cllr Steve Guy, who holds the other Totteridge seat on WDC, said the result was ‘fabulous’.
He said: “I think that both results in the General Election and in Totteridge by-election clearly shows that people are not interested with the ways of the Conservatives.
“People in Wycombe see the Lib Dems as providing an alternative.”
He took the seat from Labour at a by-election last year following the death of Councillor Glyn Galbraith.
The party has been a vocal critic of controversial Tory moves including the closure of Holywell Mead outdoor swimming pool.
But deputy council leader, Conservative Cllr Tony Green said the change would not affect the balance of power on the council.
He said: “It makes no difference, we still have got a considerable majority.
“Totteridge was always a marginal seat, I don’t see it as a comment on the Conservative administration.”
Yet an angry Mr Foley, who announced he is stepping down in March, hit out at Cllr Green's comments.
He said: "I am personally insulted by Tony Green's comments that it 'makes no difference' that conservatives lost this seat.
"I worked consistently hard for Totteridge and its disappointing to hear senior conservatives say that.
"It matters every time a seat is lost by any party.
"Congratulations to Cllr Joseph and best wishes to Lakshan Wanigasooriya, who at least understands that the party must listen to the residents of Totteridge.
Mr Wanigasooriya said: “I think the people have spoken and we must listen to what they have to say. I will continue to engage with people who have placed trust in me.”
Labour’s loss comes after it last year lost its final seats on Buckinghamshire County Council and slipped into third place at the Wycombe General Election count last night.
Mr Bates said: “I am disappointed I didn’t do better. Our supporters are still there.”
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