Tory teenager wins seat on council – by just 16 votes
TORIES in Newcastle are celebrating following a narrow by-election victory.
Nineteen-year-old student Stephen Blair became the youngest councillor on Newcastle Borough Council after claiming the Ravenscliffe ward for the Conservatives yesterday.
Mr Blair polled 229 votes, just 16 more than second place candidate and former ward councillor Gill Burnett, of Labour, who received 213.
He is now the second teenage Conservative councillor in Newcastle, joining 19-year-old Christian Barber, who won the Newchapel seat last May.
Mr Blair, of Gloucester Road, Kidsgrove, said: "I'm overwhelmed, really. I think we've had a positive campaign in Ravenscliffe, where we've shown what we're about and what we can do."
The British National Party, which was contesting a local election in Newcastle for the first time, came third with candidate Sarah Barnes picking up 180 votes.
Alby Walker, leader of the BNP group on Stoke-on-Trent City Council, said: "We're very happy. We've entered into new territory and come third, winning 20 per cent of the vote. This stands us in good stead for our real target, which is the Euro elections."
The by-election was prompted by the resignation of Tory councillor Sarah Myatt, who had to step down after being made redundant and failing to find a new job in Newcastle.
During the election campaign, the Liberal Democrats had made much of Ms Myatt's poor attendance record, after she attended just two out of 16 council meetings.
But it appeared this strategy failed, with Lib Dem candidate John Parsons coming in a disappointing fourth, with just 149 votes.
Mr Parsons said: "You can never tell who the electorate are going to vote for."
Mrs Burnett said: "I'm disappointed with the result, as I've worked very hard for this area."
Council leader Simon Tagg, who also leads the Conservative group, said: "It's very good that we're attacting the younger generation. If you look at councillors around the country, they're quite old, but the Conservative group is very young."
Geoff Locke, representing Ukip, came in last place, polling 149 votes. He said: "I had no idea what to expect, but I am concerned about the BNP vote."
Ravenscliffe by-election results
Sarah Barnes - BNP - 180 (20 per cent)
Stephen Blair - Con - 229 (25.3 per cent)
Gill Burnett - Lab - 213 (23.6 per cent)
Geoff Locke - Ukip - 131 (14.5 per cent)
John Parsons - Lib Dem - 149 (16.5 per cent)
26.18 per cent turn-out (902 votes in total)