Labour’s Matthew Callingham wins East Retford West by-election

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Labour has retained a council seat in a by-election in Bassetlaw, after a former councillor had to resign his seat.

Councillor Matthew Callingham will now serve as the Labour councillor for the East Retford West ward, winning with 49.6 per cent of the vote.

In May next year, all Bassetlaw district councillors are up for re-election, so Coun Callingham will only serve for seven months before he will have the chance to defend his seat.

Labour controls the council, and regardless of last night’s by-election result that would not have changed.

The Conservative candidate, local businesswoman Emma Auckland, finished in second place with 33.3 per cent of the vote, while Liberal Democrat candidate Helen Tamblyn-Saville was third with 16.4 per cent.

The turnout was 23.82 per cent, with 889 votes cast.

Speaking after he was elected, Coun Callingham said he had first thought of becoming a councillor just seven weeks ago, when he was approached and asked if he wanted to stand.

He said he was “thrilled” to have been elected, and that he was looking forward to “making a difference”.

He said: “I’m humbled and slightly overwhelmed. It’s a real honour that the people of Bassetlaw and of my ward have voted for me.

“I’m very new to politics, so I will do my best to serve everyone in the ward.

“Jim Anderson, the other councillor for the ward, knocked on my door, because I’m a Labour member and they were looking for a local candidate.

“It just occurred to me that instead of moaning about things I should get up and do something, and see on a local level how much impact I can have on people’s lives.”

The by-election at the Labour-run authority was triggered after a former mayor failed to attend any meetings for six months.

Alan Chambers first came into office in 2012, and became mayor of Retford in May 2013 and in 2015.

However Mr Chambers said work pressures meant he was unable to attend meetings.

Results

Emma Auckland, Conservative, 296 votes, 33.3 per cent

Matthew Callingham, Labour, 441, 49.6 per cent

Helen Tamblyn-Saville, Liberal Democrat, 146 16.4 per cent