'I'm new to this and want to listen' - Labour councillor's plans after winning Hart by-election in Hartlepool
Labour’s winning candidate in the Hart by-election has said she ‘wants to listen’ and set out her plans after claiming the seat by just eight votes.
Labour’s Ann Johnson said she was excited to get to work and listed dealing with antisocial behaviour and crime as key issues she wants to tackle after being elected as borough councillor.
She said: “I’m really happy, I’m really excited about the opportunity to move forward. It’s a good opportunity to make in-roads and get to know people and be visible.
“In terms of main issues, it’s got to be crime, definitely within the ward, and bringing the community together. The sense of community for me is something that is really, really important.
“I’m completely new at this, but from my own experiences what residents want is for candidates and councillors to switch on their ears and listen.”
Elsewhere the Green Party candidate Michael Ritchie received the third most votes with 196, followed by The For Britain Movement’s Graham Craddy and UKIP candidate Graham Harrison.
The by-election took place after the resignation of former councillor Jean Robinson last month, who had been listed as an Independent for the 2019/20 municipal year, having previously represented Labour.
The newly elected Coun Johnson said her work campaigning in the ward was key to her success.
She said: “My main concern was that it was about getting the message across to people in town, certainly in the Hart ward, that it’s about them and getting their voices heard.
“That’s something that I maintained throughout the campaign. It’s not about personalities or one individual, it’s about what matters to people in the ward, and that’s what I spent the campaign trying to get across.
“The common theme that was running throughout was that people do feel that they were forgotten about, so to actually get the knock on the door from a prospective candidate is ideal to get a good reaction.
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“From the Labour Party view I want to reassure people that we have actually changed within the party, certainly within the town, the time has come for us to all pull together. It’s about us all working together for the people of Hartlepool.”
Labour Party leader on the council, Coun Paddy Brown, said the victory was a great result for the party.
He said: “It’s a great result for the Labour Party, for Ann and I believe for the town of Hartlepool.
“The people are clearly realising that Labour has removed the rot, the Socialist Labour cabal has gone, but the town are now realising that Labour are here for the good.”
Coun Johnson, who becomes the 10th Labour councillor on the council, will represent the Hart ward alongside Coun James Brewer and Coun Tom Cassidy, who both represent the Independent Union.
The voter turnout was 16.93% with 1,211 votes cast out of a possible 7,152.
The results in full
Graham CRADDY (For Britain Movement)- 166
Ian GRIFFITHS (Independent Union)- 358
Graham HARRISON (UKIP)- 114
Ann JOHNSON (Labour)- 366
Michael RITCHIE (Green Party)- 196