Posted: 19.12.14

Conservative victory in St James by-election

Last night saw voters go to the polls in Kingston’s St James ward, culminating in a resounding Conservative victory: Jack Cheetham was elected with 1123 votes. The by-election was triggered after the death of Howard Jones, the former Kingston Conservatives

By-election2

Last night saw voters go to the polls in Kingston’s St James ward, culminating in a resounding Conservative victory: Jack Cheetham was elected with 1123 votes. The by-election was triggered after the death of Howard Jones, the former Kingston Conservatives leader, in October, who led the Party to their first overall control of the council in decades in 2014, following long-term Liberal Democrat domination.

Cheetham’s closest opponent came in the form of the Liberal Democrat candidate, Annette Wookey (who gained 865 votes). The other candidates lagged a fair way behind: Labour’s Stephen Dunkling only gathered 355 votes, while Benjamin Roberts, the UKIP candidate, picked up 206 votes. The Greens came in at last place, with just 71 votes. Turnout was relatively low at 39%, of a potential electorate of 6718. Councillor Cheetham had formerly stood in the St Mark’s Hill ward in May’s local elections, in an unsuccessful attempt to unseat Liz Green, the Liberal Democrat leader.

The borough was a key Conservative London target in May, and saw them take six seats from the Liberal Democrats. The result in St James, though perhaps not hugely surprising, is a useful barometer for the broader political scene in 2015, most notably in the concern of local MP Edward Davey (Lib Dem, Kingston and Surbiton) for the safety of his seat as the General Election looms.

Full result: Jack Cheetham (Con) 1123; Annette Wookey (Lib Dem) 865; Stephen Dunking (Lab) 355; Benjamin Roberts (UKIP) 206; Alexander Nelson (Green) 71.