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Meet the new faces: First-time councillors secure West Norfolk seats



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If elections mark the end of political eras, then a fresh one will certainly begin when the new West Norfolk Council meets later this month.

That’s because more than a third of the seats on the authority, 19, were won by first-time members.

Many of them are part of the main opposition independent group, while four will join the ranks of the ruling Conservatives.

But also among the new faces is Michael de Whalley, already well-known for his work as an anti-incinerator campaigner and now only the second Green Party candidate to ever win a seat on the borough council, after Lori Allen in 2011.

He topped the poll in the Gayton and Grimston ward, eight years after losing out on a seat by just three votes.

The KL&WN Borough Council Election Count on Friday 3 May at Alive Corn Exchange, Tuesday Market Place, King’s Lynn..Michael de Whalley (Green Party). (9613455)
The KL&WN Borough Council Election Count on Friday 3 May at Alive Corn Exchange, Tuesday Market Place, King’s Lynn..Michael de Whalley (Green Party). (9613455)

He said: “It’s very gratifying. I didn’t expect it. It’s a combination of national mood and plain hard work.

“If you want to be elected, you have to work hard. Certainly if you’re in a minority party, you have to work twice as hard as anybody else.”

Already a well-known figure as a union activist and Parliamentary candidate, Jo Rust is one of four new Labour councillors to be elected following her victory in the Springwood ward.

The KL&WN Borough Council Election Count on Friday 3 May at Alive Corn Exchange, Tuesday Market Place, King’s Lynn. (9613485)
The KL&WN Borough Council Election Count on Friday 3 May at Alive Corn Exchange, Tuesday Market Place, King’s Lynn. (9613485)
The KL&WN Borough Council Election Count on Friday 3 May at Alive Corn Exchange, Tuesday Market Place, King’s Lynn. (9613771)
The KL&WN Borough Council Election Count on Friday 3 May at Alive Corn Exchange, Tuesday Market Place, King’s Lynn. (9613771)

She said: “It’s overwhelming. A lot of people put a lot of stock in the general election, but standing and trying to get elected for Springwood has meant so much to me.

“I’m incredibly passionate about our area and to have gained the trust of constituents to be elected is incredibly joyous for me.

“I feel very, very proud and want to work incredibly hard for the residents of Springwood.”

Perhaps the most surprised winner of the day was Josie Ratcliffe, whose victory in the East Downham seat brought the Liberal Democrats back into the council chamber for the first time since 2011.

The KL&WN Borough Council Election Count on Friday 3 May at Alive Corn Exchange, Tuesday Market Place, King’s Lynn..Lib Team Group Celebrate. (9613382)
The KL&WN Borough Council Election Count on Friday 3 May at Alive Corn Exchange, Tuesday Market Place, King’s Lynn..Lib Team Group Celebrate. (9613382)

She says she hopes to be a voice for the town to help bring investment and services back and thinks her result could be the start of a resurgence for the party in West Norfolk.

She said: “I’m really pleased that people put their faith in me to represent the town well.

“We’re a small, but growing party and there’s lots we can look forward to in the future.”



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