Liberal Democrats in North Cornwall are celebrating after the decisive victory in Thursday’s Wadebridge West by-election to Cornwall Council, where MP Scott Mann’s resignation had left the seat empty.
Local NHS Radiographer, Karen McHugh, topped the poll with 604 votes (42.3%), with the Conservatives second on 356 (25.6%).
The result deals a significant blow to local Conservatives who now have just one of the twenty-one Cornwall Councillors in the North Cornwall constituency. The Liberal Democrats now have 17.
The result came as a shock to many, as this had been considered a safe Tory seat. It was held by North Cornwall’s Conservative MP Scott Mann, who won the seat in 2013 with 66% of the vote.
Commenting on her victory, Karen McHugh said: “It’s an absolute honour to have been elected to represent Wadebridge. It was a lively campaign with all candidates and parties working very hard. The high turnout of voters certainly reflects the huge effort put in by all sides.
“Thank you to all the residents of Wadebridge for giving me this opportunity.”
Chairman of the North Cornwall Liberal Democrats John Lamb said: “This victory sends a very clear message to the Conservative government. It’s one that says that when you sell-off social housing, when you try to cut benefits for the disabled and when you make the poor and vulnerable the target of your dogmatic commitment to austerity, you do so without the support of Cornish people.
“Our success here, like the one in Launceston earlier in the year, firmly puts to rest the notion that the Lib Dems are a spent force. We are going from victory to victory with an ever-increasing membership. We have no intention of slowing down anytime soon.
“I would urge anyone in Cornwall who wants to stand up against the Tories and wants hard working community champions to be fighting their corner to join the Liberal Democrats today”.
Council elections take place in May.