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Soham North and Isleham stays in Tory hands as Conservatives win Cambridgeshire County Council by-election

Winning candidate, Conservative Mark Goldsack (4609174)
Winning candidate, Conservative Mark Goldsack (4609174)

The Conservatives have held onto their Soham North and Isleham seat, but saw their vote drop as the Liberal Democrats made gains.

Tory Mark Goldsack won the Cambridgeshire County Council ward last night with 49 per cent of the vote, but lost the support of 17 per cent of the electorate.

Cllr Goldsack, who will now serve both at the county council and on East Cambridgeshire District Council, said ‘external factors’ were to blame.

“I am thrilled to bits to have won,” he said. “I think the current political climate and having four candidates in the race had an effect on the vote. It was a very open contest."

He added: “I am really proud. I grew up in Soham, I live in Isleham and I hope I can give something back. The hard work starts now.”

The Liberal Democrats saw their vote increase to 30 per cent, up 13. Candidate Victoria Charlesworth said she was encouraged by the result. “I am really pleased with the response we have had from the public,” she said.

Votes are counted at the Soham North and Isleham by-election (4609172)
Votes are counted at the Soham North and Isleham by-election (4609172)

Mrs Charlesworth said the results reflected ‘concerns with the direction of Mayor James Palmers combined authority and the Conservative-run county council’.

Labour’s Lee Jinks saw a six per cent decline in support for the party, winning over 11 per cent of the electorate.

Independent Geoffrey Woollard won the backing of 10 per cent of voters. Reacting to the result he said: “It was closely contested but also great fun. Though I didn’t win - by a long way - I enjoyed myself and, by walking some three hundred miles in and around Soham and Isleham, I became even more fit than I was when the campaign commenced.”

Deputy returning officer John Hill said turnout was 21 per cent with 1,758 ballots counted: Mr Woollard secured 182 votes, Mr Jinks with 191, Mrs Charlesworth on 527, and Cllr Goldsack winning with 858. There were 12 rejected ballots.

The Soham North and Isleham by-election was called when ConservativePaul Raynes resigned his seat to take a £130,000 job at the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough combined authority in August, just one year into his county council term.

At last year’s county council election the Conservatives secured 66 per cent of the vote, with Liberal Democrat candidate Rupert Moss-Eccardt collecting 17 per cent and Labours Isobel Grace Morris with 16 per cent.