Labour delight at by-election success

Date published: 15 March 2013

IT was a family affair as Labour maintained its grip on Royton South in last night’s by-election.

Marie Bashforth won the seat with 938 votes, ahead of Allan Fish who polled 244 votes for the Conservatives, Liberal Democrat Stephen Barrow on 221 and the Green Party’s Roger Pakeman on 70.

Marie joins her husband, Councillor Steven Bashforth, who has represented the ward since 2003. All three Royton South seats are held by Labour.

The by-election followed the death of Councillor Philip Harrison in December.

Newly-elected Councillor Bashforth said: “I am so thankful to the people of Royton South to show that confidence in me.”

Council leader Jim McMahon said he was “over the moon” at Labour’s latest by-election success.

He said: “We are choosing candidates who are grass-roots campaigners and part of the local community. Marie will be an excellent councillor. She lives in the ward, she socialises in the ward.”

The result was announced at the count at Royton Hall Primary School at 11pm, an hour after the polls closed. The turnout was 17.75 per cent compared with 27.2 per cent in the general council elections last May.

The line up of the council is now: Labour 43, Liberal Democrat 14, Conservative two and one vacant seat following the death of Councillor Dilys Fletcher.

COUNCIL leader Jim McMahon accused the Lib-Dems of plunging Oldham back into the “dark days of politics” with “underhand and misleading” election leaflets.

The leaflets were delivered to 4,300 homes in Royton South ahead of last night’s by-election.

The front says: “A message from Labour Oldham Council Boss Councillor Jim McMahon” and inside it reads “Labour’s Tax Bombshell” with figures stating increases in council tax and the precepts for police, fire, transport and waste collection.

There is also a quote from Councillor McMahon and a plea for voters to elect Lib-Dem candidate Stephen Barrow.

Councillor McMahon said: “It was a deliberate attempt to make it look like it was from me. The Lib-Dem leaflets should be setting out their priorities and letting their policies do the talking, not attacking ours.”

Councillor John McCann, Lib-Dem deputy leader, said: “This is a local election leaflet asking people to vote for Stephen Barrow. This one was just the last in the campaign so if it has unsettled Councillor McMahon, it has done its job.”