Tories celebrate by-election victory

THE Conservative Party candidate has romped home at the Ticehurst and Etchingham by-election, beating a former parliamentary candidate.

Robert Elliston is the new district councillor for the ward after winning twice as many votes as his Liberal Democrat opponent. Cllr Elliston won 696 votes to the 329 cast for Lib Dem Mary Varrall.

Cllr Robert Elliston said of his first election: "It all went quite quickly. From the time I was asked to stand and the election was about five weeks. I was delighted to be asked and even more delighted to win the election."

Cllr Elliston, who ran the pharmacy in Ticehurst for 25 years until last year and is the chair of the Ticehurst Chamber of Trade, said: "I hope people will know I'm approachable and keen to help."

Cllr Elliston said of his Lib Dem opponent: "She's a very nice lady, but she's not as well known in Ticehurst."

The election was called after previous district councillor John Potter changed his job and moved out of the ward.

Cllr Elliston said: "I was very pleased with the turn out. It was better than expected and I'm just delighted to be given this chance to do what I can."

His opponent Mary Varrall is a parish councillor in Etchingham and lives in the village. She stood against Rother MP Greg Barker in the 2005 General Election.

Speaking about the by-election result, Mr Barker said: "This was a terrific result for the local Conservatives. A swing of nearly 18% away from the Liberal Democrats to us is quite a result.

"However, this is due in no small part to an excellent candidate who is liked and respected in the local community. I know Robert will be a great community champion for the Ticehurst ward and a huge asset to the Conservative group on Rother."

A total of 30.76 per cent of the registered electors in the ward turned out on polling day. No ballot papers were rejected.