Labour has held onto its third seat in Fazakerley in the first electoral test of the new administration.
In a close-run city council by-election, the ruling party kept a grip on the Fazakerley East ward following the resignation of former cabinet member Frazer Lake last month. Debbie Cooke will take on the seat after securing 350 votes, a margin of 92.
Jean Martin came second for the Liverpool Community Independents with 258 votes. Student Kayleigh Halpin was third for the Liberal Democrats and secured 148 votes while independent candidate Barry Maguire received 87.
Conservative Party hopeful Katie Burgess took 12 votes.
Voters were called to go to the polls four months after all-out local authority elections. Former cabinet member Mr Lake stepped down last month just 12 weeks after holding the seat in a two-horse race.
New councillor Cooke said she had expected a tight race and was glad to get over the line. She said, “I’m really pleased. I knew it would be a close campaign because Jean is so well known in the community.
“I’m really looking forward to getting going and the hard work starts now.”
It was the first by-election under the newly drawn city boundaries which increased the number of wards from 30 to 64, creating a number of new single member wards. This included Fazakerley, which was divided into new East, North and West locations.
Cllr Liam Robinson, leader of Liverpool Council and Labour group chief, was at the count and congratulated charity worker Cllr Cooke on her victory. He said, “I’m really pleased with the result and it’s been a tough campaign.
“It’s a credit to all the parties for taking part and I congratulate them all for the work they did. This is a fantastic victory for Debbie and we’ve got a real community champion for the area who understands what people are going through right now.
“I’m sure she’ll be a real asset for the city council.”
A total of 856 ballots were cast on a turnout of 20.3%. Initially 39 people were turned away from casting a vote owing to a lack of correct photo ID.
Returning officer Andrew Lewis confirmed that of those, 19 subsequently returned to a polling station. A total of four ballots were spoiled.
Full result of the Fazakerley East by-election:
- Debbie Cooke, Labour – 350
- Jean Martin, Liverpool Community Independents – 258
- Kayleigh Halpin, Liberal Democrats – 148
- Katie Burgess, Conservatives – 12
- Barry Maguire, Independent – 87
Image: Liverpool Council leader Liam Robinson with new Labour councillor Debbie Cooke after she held the seat in Fazakerley