Amidst the chilly conditions in Wiltshire last night a by-election took place to fill the vacant Bromham, Rowde & Potterne ward on the County Council. Just over 1000 voters braved the elements, which represents a turnout slightly less than 30%. Considering the weather, and the proximity to Christmas, this was a fair effort!
As for the result, the Conservatives held the seat comfortably. There were a few reasons why a surprise may have been on the cards, not least the cause of the vacancy. The incumbent Tory Councillor Philip Brown's handed in his resignation after he had pleaded guilty to one count of fraud and three counts of theft, which in total amounted to almost £50,000. Brown has since been sentenced to 10 months in prison for the offences, which would have disqualified him as a Councillor anyway. In a further twist, the mother of the Conservative candidate was standing as an Independent having previously contested elections as a member of UKIP. Despite all this the result was quite orderly. The Conservatives' vote share rose by 10%, which was probably as a result of UKIP not standing in this election, and the Liberal Democrats managed a slightly bigger increase in the absence of a Green candidate. There isn't really much more to say about penultimate by-election of 2010!
Wiltshire County Council
Liz Bryant (E)
Tomorrow East Hertfordshire District Council will host the final by-election of the year. We were here in November where an Independent held a seat with over 60% of the vote against the Conservatives. This contest is likely to be a little closer as the Tories hope to gain a seat vacated by an Independent. Full preview will be posted later on today.