I am pleased to confirm I have been re-elected to serve Trinity Ward on East Devon District Council. In the official declaration, Labour Candidate Sarah Birnie polled 249 votes against my total of 635. Turnout was 42.42% and there were a disappointingly high 46 rejected papers. A significant proportion made direct reference to ‘Brexit’.
I should like to thank everyone who has helped me across the Ward, from Axmouth to Raymonds Hill, for their valued help and support. The count this morning was very well organised and delivered by Returning Officer, Mark Williams and his team. Thanks to them.
The combination of my resignation from the Conservative Party and the requirements of Election Law in the run up to an election, would benefit for a more detailed explanation, to remove any confusion.
After seeking advice from the Returning Officer, I resigned from the Conservative Party on 17th April. As this was after the deadline for Receipt of Nominations and Withdrawal of Candidates (both of which were at 4:00pm on 3rd April), the Returning Officer advised that I could not amend my nomination in any way. Further, that the election would progress with my name on the paper as a Conservative Party Representative. The only circumstances under which the election would not progress would be in the event of the death of one of the candidates!
For clarity, my team and I hand delivered a personalised letter to each of the 2,197 electors on the Electoral Register in Trinity Ward, clearly advising each individually that, whilst Ballot Papers would still show me as representing the Conservative Party, should I be elected I would be taking my seat in the new Council as an Independent Councillor, not aligned to any political party or group.
I have therefore completed the process, immediately after election, by writing this afternoon to the Chief Executive of East Devon District Council, asking that he arrange my designation as an Independent Councillor is applied forthwith.
I am now delighted to represent Trinity Ward as an Independent Councillor on East Devon District Council and would like again to thank everyone for their support.