A newly elected Conservative councillor said his party can continue to achieve "an immense amount for the people of Peterborough" after winning back its majority on the city council.
Cllr Gavin Elsey enjoyed a swift return to Peterborough City Council, taking the vacant Orton Longueville seat in a by-election last night by defeating Heather Skibsted from the Labour and Co-operative Party by 56 votes.
Victory for the former cabinet member for waste and street scene came just three months after his surprise defeat in May's local elections in Orton Waterville.
Reflecting on his win, he said: “I’m absolutely delighted with the result as firstly it allows me to get back into the council, and secondly it gives the Conservative group a majority in the council with which we can move things forward. It is also nice to represent the ward where I grew up.
“It was a close count and I expected it to be – to be fair to Heather Skibsted she ran a very good campaign in May where she was only a few votes shy of being elected then. I knew it was going to be tough against her, but I had a great team about me and we’ve worked really hard to pull this off.
“These four weeks of campaigning have been very tense, but what they have done is raise a number of issues that we as a council now have to tackle. There are parking issues all over the ward, there are issues with rat-runs and issues with fly-tipping. All these are matters that are really important and we need to address them to make the ward a better place for everybody to live in.
“This result has definitely helped the Conservative group who, for the decade that I have served on the council, have achieved an immense amount for the people of Peterborough. Giving them back the majority in the council means that they can continue to do that."
The Conservatives now hold 31 of the 60 seats on the authority, a large lead over the Labour group which has 14 councillors.
The next scheduled elections are not until May next year when 20 seats are up for grab.
UKIP had held one of the three seats in Orton Longueville until May when Cllr Irene Walsh won it for the Conservatives ahead of Ms Skibsted.
However, the party came bottom in the by-election, behind the Liberal Democrats in third and the Green Party in fourth.
The announcement of the result came at the well-attended Peterborough Town Hall just after 11:45pm.
The Tories now hold all of the seats in the ward.
Ms Skibsted said: “I got to know the people of Orton Longueville very well during the elections in May. I was pleased and honoured to be standing again in the same place.”
Aside from the 31 Conservatives, the rest of the council consists of seven Liberal Democrats, three from Werrington First, two independents and a single councillor each from UKIP, the Green Party.and the Liberal Party.
Rob Alexander, Local Democracy Reporting Service.
Gavin Elsey (Conservatives) - 713
Heather Skibsted (Labour and Co-operative) - 657
Daniel Gibbs (Lib Dems) - 237
Alex Airey (Greens) - 201
Graham Whitehead (UKIP) - 143