Labour strengthens grip on Blackpool

Jim Elmes (Labour)

Jim Elmes (Labour)

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LABOUR strengthened its grip on the town hall after winning both seats at yesterday’s two by-elections in Blackpool.

John Jones registered an emphatic victory in Bloomfield ward with more than 60 per cent of the vote, while Jim Elmes snatched Marton from the Tories, polling just over half the vote.

It means Labour now has 28 seats on Blackpool Council, compared to 13 for the Conservatives and one for the Liberal Democrats, who were beaten into fourth place in both wards.

The by-elections came following the deaths of Tory councillor Jim Houldsworth, who represented Marton, and Labour’s Mary Smith, who represented Bloomfield.

Blackpool Council leader Coun Simon Blackburn said the results howed confidence in his party’s policies since regaining control at last year’s local elections.

He added: “We have two councillors who will carry on the excellent work of both Mary Smith and Jim Houldsworth and that means a lot to me.

“We fought on our record and this is a sign of the confidence in the administration.”

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Bloomfield:

Susan Close (Lib Dem) 73 votes (6.02 per cent)

John Jones (Labour) 731 votes (60.26 per cent)

Beverley Keenan (Independent) 193 votes (15.91 per cent)

Ged Walsh (Conservative) 216 votes (17.81 per cent)

Turnout 21.78 per cent.

Marton:

Kevan Benfold (Lib Dem) 76 votes (4.37 per cent)

Peter Collins (Conservative) 644 votes (37.01 per cent)

Jim Elmes (Labour) 917 votes (52.7 per cent)

Philip Mitchell (Green Party) 103 votes (5.92 per cent)

Turnout 31.69 per cent.

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