THE Lib Dems have held on to the Portchester East seat at a by-election triggered by one of their councillors resigning.
Councillor Geoff Fazackarley polled 47 per cent of the total vote for the Lib Dems in the count held late last night at Fareham Borough Council’s civic offices.
The runner-up, Conservative candidate Alison Walker, took 33 per cent of the votes.
After the result was announced, Cllr Fazackarley said: ‘It’s brilliant to have won because it was a real hard-fought campaign which has been quite bad tempered at times.
‘I’m just glad I can now get on with serving the people of Portchester.
‘There have been lots of issues that have been raised over the course of the election campaign which I shall start dealing with from 9 o’clock in the morning.
‘I have already been given plenty of food for thought.’
But until last year Cllr Fazackarley had been chairman of the Portchester Conservatives, and he ran for the same seat as their candidate in the 2010 elections. However, he insisted he would stick with his new political allegiance.
‘I’ve worked with [sitting Lib Dem Portchester East councillors] Roger Price and David Norris for a while now and I have found them as solid as a rock,’ he said.
‘In my opinion the Conservatives didn’t listen to the people in Portchester and I wanted the best for Portchester.’
Miss Walker, who was fighting her first election campaign, said: ‘I’m pleased with the result. I don’t think we could have done any more than we did.
‘I want to thank my friends, family and the local councillors for all the help they have given me – it’s been amazing.
‘I was getting really good feedback on the doorsteps. It has been hard work, but it hasn’t put me off and I would get involved with more campaigns.’
Green candidate John Vivian added: ‘We have never fought in Portchester before and we are quite pleased – it’s been a good start and we have got a few new members out of it.’
Former councillor Chris Brown resigned in February after failing to attend any meetings due to his work commitments.
The make-up of the council remains 23 Conservatives, seven Lib Dems and one independent.
· Geoff Fazackarley, Lib Dem, 1,216
· Alison Walker, Con: 840
· Richard Ryan, Lab: 323
· John Vivian, Green: 90
· Manny Martins, Independent: 77
Total votes: 2,546
Rejected ballot papers: 4
LIB DEM HOLD
TURNOUT: 28.8 per cent