Hundreds of spoilt ballots in Rugby's local election, but no change in who is in control of the borough council

The election count on Thursday night
The election count on Thursday night

It is a case of ‘as you were’ following the local elections at Rugby Borough Council with the Conservatives retaining control.

Of the 14 seats up for grabs at the polls, Labour retained three, the Liberal Democrats kept their three while the other eight were secured by the Tories - if you include that of Bilton where Lisa Parker was victorious.

Rugby Town Hall

Rugby Town Hall

Cllr Parker had been suspended by the Tories in the run-up to the election, but not before her name was entered on the ballot paper as the Conservative Party candidate. Cllr Parker has said she will sit as an independent member until her suspension is lifted.

There had been concerns that voters would shun the election as a protest against the Brexit negotiations taking place in Westminster and Brussels but the turnout was on a par with previous years at just over 32 per cent.

What protests there were came in the form of spoiled ballot papers which returning officer and chief executive of the council Adam Norburn put in the hundreds - may of them scrawled with the work ‘Brexit’.

Leam Valley was the first ward to declare and saw Conservative Emma Crane keep her seat in the council, holding off the challenge of Labour’s Bob Hughes. The turnout of nearly 45 per cent was one of the best of the night.

The controlling Tories went on to win the next four seats including that of Admirals and Cawston where council leader Michael Stokes was looking to keep his place. He did so with a 292 majority from Labour’s Sharron Goldingay and just managed to witness his victory having only landed from a business trip to Belgium at 10.35pm.

Labour picked up their first seat of the evening when Barbara Brown took New Bilton - one of four new faces who will sit in the council chamber.

And she will be joined by Jim Ellis who was voted in for Labour in Newbold and Brownsover, taking over the seat from retiring group leader Claire Edwards.

The other newcomers on the council are new Dunsmore councillor Peter Eccleson who won by a clear majority for the Conservatives and Nick Long who secured the Rokeby and Overslade ward for the Liberal Democrats. The Lib Dem leader Jerry Roodhouse was also successful in Paddox.

Of the other parties, the Greens fared better than UKIP but neither managed to get a look-in.