New Bilton elects Labour’s Steve Birkett in by-election

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LABOUR’S Steve Birkett has been elected to Rugby Borough Council following a by-election last Thursday.

He beat seven other candidates in a seat that was vacated by Labour’s Rob McNally after he moved away from the area due to work commitments. Cllr Birkett, a secondary school teacher, captured very close to 50 per cent of the votes cast.

He said: “I am delighted to have been elected as a Councillor for New Bilton Ward.

“I’d like to thank everyone who voted for me and I will work hard for the electorate and listen to the people’s concerns. I look forward to working with residents over the coming weeks and months.”

In Rugby he has campaigned to bring back free parking at Rugby St Cross and opposed the downgrading of hospital services. He has also argued against the removal of evening services for the number 4 bus route.

He is described by the borough Labour group as a party stalwart and has fought and narrowly lost recent borough elections. Last May he missed out on a seat for Admirals and Cawston Ward by 44 votes,

Rugby Labour chairman Alan Webb, who was Steve’s agent in the by-election, said: “Steve and I go back as great friends over more than 15 years.

“Steve will do anything for the Labour Party. He is a senior Labour Party officer and is one of the most capable, committed and understanding people I know.

“The people of New Bilton have made a wise choice.”

Cllr. Birkett joins fellow New Bilton Labour councillors Ish Mistry and Tina Avis on the Council.

The three have said they will work closer with local residents to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour and ensure robust sanctions on littering, vandalism and dog fouling.

His election will do little to change to make-up of Conservatove-controlled Rugby Borough Council. Currently the council is made up of 25 Conservatives, 10 Labour councillors, 6 Liberal Democrats and one independent.

The full results are as follows: Steve Birkett, Labour, 496, Katie Ferrier, Conservative 192, Roy Harvey, UKIP, 82, Pete McLaren, Trade Unionists and Socialists Against Cuts, 39, David Merritt, Lib Dem, 41, Roy Sandison, Green, 100, Patricia Wyatt, independent, 56.