Tories lose ‘safe’ District Council seat in Bakewell by 15 votes

24 Feb 2024
Claire Cadogan

Lib Dems see 4% swing to secure 3rd place, with Claire Cadogan gaining more votes than candidates placed 4th, 5th and 6th combined. See here for full results

The Tory candidate in Bakewell, Richard Walsh, saw a comfortable majority of 485 secured by the previous incumbent Mark Wakeman overturned, with Labour’s Bob Butcher winning the seat by 15 votes.

Mr Walsh who recently described the District Council as “a right bunch of fools” over the proposed Traveller site in Homesford, made the issue of travellers a central plank in his campaign. It may have been that voters noted a lack of consistency in the Tory messaging in this area with Mr Walsh vehemently opposing the Homesford site (he lives nearby) and our Conservative MP, Sarah Dines, criticising the Lib Dem led District Council for not moving quickly enough to purchase it.

There was also a by-election in Norbury on the same day, with heavy rain and flooding possibly being to blame for a low turnout of just over 27%.

This was a Tory hold with a vote share reduced by 4%. Lib Dem candidate Robin Shirtcliffe secured 9% of the votes, standing for the first time in this ward. See here for full results.

The Progressive Alliance of Liberal Democrat, Labour, Green and Independent groups now number 24 with Lib Dems the largest group with 12 councillors. The Conservative opposition have 10.

The political balance on committees will now need to be adjusted to reflect these changes.