A former mayor pulled off a shock win in a Northampton by-election - giving the Liberal Democrats only a third seat on the borough council.
The by-election poll was held in the Westone ward yesterday, after Matthew Lynch stepped down from the seat in June.
But against the odds the Lib Dems turned around a seemingly safe Conservative majority to take the seat, re-installing former mayor Brian Markham at the Guildhall for the first time in five years.
Councillor Markham won with 50 per cent of the vote – a swing of well over 30 per cent from the Conservatives.
“I am honoured and proud to have the chance to serve and represent the people of Westone once again,” said Councillor Markham, who was a councillor in the area for 18 years before 2011.
“This is my home – and I am excited to keep making it the best place to live that it can possibly be. I want to thank the people of Westone who have shown such kindness and such support over the past few weeks. I am truly touched, and I will work incredibly hard for you.”
He added: “I can’t wait to get started.”
The national Liberal Democrat party have won a host of by-elections in recent months, but in Northampton it has gone form being the controlling party in 2011, to winning just two seats in the 2015 election.
Leader of the Lib Dem group on the Borough Council, Councillor Sally Beardsworth, said she was pleased to get a seat back.
She said; “We would love to take all the credit, but the complete collapse of the Conservative vote has far more to do with them than us, I think.
“Locally we’ve seen £10 million lost in poorly considered loans, and far more than that wasted on pet projects, like opening Abington Street to traffic, which benefit nobody.”