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Labour celebrates victory in Wollaston and Stourbridge Town by-election
1:32am Friday 1st February 2013 in News
LABOUR has made it three in a row after romping home to victory in the Wollaston and Stourbridge Town by-election.
Barbara Sykes polled a total of 847 votes to win the seat previously occupied by Conservative party stalwart and former Mayor of Dudley - councillor Malcolm Knowles, who died in October.
The retired schoolteacher beat Tory tree surgeon Matt Rogers, who polled 787, by 60 votes in the closely fought race to the polls which saw UKIP's Barbara Deeley notching up 249 votes to take third place.
Meanwhile political newcomer and independent candidate Russell Eden scored 211 votes - pushing steadfast Lib Dem candidate and former councillor Chris Bramall into fifth place with 169 votes.
British National Party (BNP) candidate Ken Griffiths was left with just 96 votes and Green Party hopeful Ben Sweeney earned himself a measly seven votes in the January 31 election which saw recorded a turnout of 23.23 per cent.
After her win, Barbara Sykes paid tribute to the late cllr Knowles, whose death triggered the second by-election the Stourbridge area has seen in seven months.
She said she was delighted to have won after wearing out a pair of shoes on the campaign trail in what she described as the "filthiest election weather I've ever experienced".
And she added: "I'd like to thank the people of Wollaston and Stourbridge who have shown vindication of Dudley being governed by a Labour council and who have been critical of central Tory government and its lack of heart and sympathy for the vulnerable members of society."
The Labour victory at Stourbridge Town Hall was widely predicted following the election of party colleagues Chris Hale and Ian Marrey in Wollaston and Stourbridge Town in last May's local election which turned Dudley's Tory controlled council red.
Stourbridge MP Margot James (Conservative) said she was "disappointed" at the loss of the long-held seat but she acknowledged a win "would have bucked the trend".
She added that she'd been "very impressed" with the performance put in by Mr Rogers, whose mum Heather is a councillor for Norton, and said: "I'd love to see him as a councillor in future."