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30% swing to the LibDems as King's Lynn seat captured

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The LibDems have scored a shock by-election win in Lynn by taking a seat previously held by the Conservatives with a 30 per cent swing.

In the Gaywood South county council election held yesterday, Rob Colwell captured the seat only won by the Tories in May.

The by-election was held following the resignation of Thomas Smith, who won the seat or the Conservatives but then moved to take up a job in London.

LibDems county councillor Rob Colwell (49744789)
LibDems county councillor Rob Colwell (49744789)

The result of the poll was Rob Colwell (LibDem) 648 (39.2%), Micaela Bartrum (Labour) 561 (33.9%), Phil Task 378 (22.9%), Robin Talbot (Independent) 35 (2.1%), Michael Stone 28 (1.7%). Turnout was 17.1%.

At the previous election in May, only a 20.5 per cent turnout, the Tories scored 908 votes, Labour 724 and Mr Colwell 228.

Mr Colwell was present for the declaration at Lynn Town Hall this morning and said he was still in shock.

He said: "It became obvious fairly quickly that something very special had happened and the Tory vote had vanished.

"We did work really hard and I did try to speak to as many people as possible.

"What they were saying locally was that they felt they have been taken for granted. They were upset on several issues locally."

One issue that came up was the development at Parkway which the borough council wants to build housing on.

Mr Colwell said that despite the scaling back of the plans, people were still unhappy about infrastructure and pollution caused by the many new homes and extra traffic.

And he said on the rebuilding of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital people weree "furious it has been forgotten about.They were saying 'don't forget our QEH'."

Mr Colwell said he found that many people felt "almost trapped in their homes in summer" such as the poor road network in the ward and he would make campaigning for better local infrastructure a priority as well as "making as much noise as possible in regards to the QEH".

His other priority would be the Gaywood river, which he said is in a poor state. "I want to get local landowners and the internal drainage board together to make a difference.

He said that with a 30 per cent swing he had been taking calls from up and down the country from fellow LibDems "who I have never met or spoken to".

Mr Colwell thanked "progressive voters" from the Green Party and Labour who had cast their ballot in his favour.

"I thoroughly enjoyed the campaign," he said.

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