The Cotswold Liberal Democrats are celebrating today after their candidate - retired local GP Dilys Neill - gained the Stow Ward from the Conservatives with a swing of 21% - winning 555 votes to the Conservatives’ 300.
The victory is the twentieth local by-election gain for the Liberal Democrats since May 2016 – in fact the party has now gained more new councillors in the last four months than all the other political parties combined.
The result leaves the Liberal Democrats with 11 seats, seven seats short of a majority on Cotswold District Council. The Conservatives will now be concerned that they risk losing the Cotswolds at the next ordinary council election in 2019.
Their additional councillor also entitles the Liberal Democrat Group to an extra seat on the Council’s influential Planning Committee – meaning one Conservative will have to be removed to make room.
Speaking after the result had been declared, Councillor Dilys Neill said:
“I would like to thank everyone who gave up their time to help my campaign in Stow. I joined the Liberal Democrats last month because I felt they were the only party standing up for local people in the Cotswolds and it’s amazing to have been elected to represent my area on the District Council.
“My priorities for Stow include finding a solution for Stow’s traffic and parking problems, helping to secure more social housing so people can afford to live here and lobbying the County Council for more road repairs.”
Councillor Joe Harris the leader of the Cotswold Lib Dems was also thrilled with the result commenting:
“We’ve routed the Conservatives in their heartland, people had the choice of a positive vision for the Town with Dilys and our team or more of the same under the Conservatives.
“The Conservatives have run the Cotswolds for thirteen years and for too long they have taken people’s votes for granted, especially in towns like Stow. I hope that the result tonight is a wake-up call and that the Council will start to listen to local communities.”
During a trip to Witney last Friday Lib Dem Leader Tim Farron MP congratulated Councillor Neill on her election win.