Conservative candidate Jack Cheetham was elected to Kingston Council in yesterday's St James ward by-election.

He won with 1,123 votes, beating Liberal Democrat candidate Annette Wookey by 258 votes.

Just over 39 per cent of 6,718 eligible voters turned out to the polls.

Councillor Cheetham said: "I'm really grateful to the voters of St James and look forward to working hard in their interests just as Howard Jones did for so many years.

"This is a clear endorsement of the new Conservative council's progress in tackling the shameful legacy of the previous Lib Dem administration."

The by-election was triggered by the death of former Kingston Conservatives leader Howard Jones in October.

He had guided his party to their first outright victory in decades in May's local elections.

Coun Cheetham stood in St Mark's Hill in May in an attempt to unseat Liberal Democrat leader Liz Green.

Kingston and Surbiton MP Edward Davey said: "We are actually quite pleased with the result.

"We knew that it was a safe Tory seat so to increase our vote in the way that we did is a big achievement.

"The Conservatives must be pretty disappointed with the vote and it was a disaster for Labour.

"I heard it was pretty neck and neck on the night and we probably only lost on the postal vote."

Of his Conservative opposite number James Berry's tweet, above, he said: "That is clearly nonsense.

"In fact we were surprised by the amount of literature he put out about himself.

"I thought there was very little about the candidate and it was all self-promotion for [Berry]."

But Labour Parliamentary candidate Lee Godfrey tweeted: "This is very bad news for Ed Davey's general election campaign.

"Shows that Lib Dems are a spent force in Kingston and Surbiton."





The tallies for the other candidates in yesterday's election were:

  • Stephen Dunkling, Labour: 355 votes
  • Benjamin Roberts, UKIP: 206 votes
  • Alexander Nelson, Green: 71 votes