New Hartlepool councillor relives 'rollercoaster of emotions' after straws decide dead heat

A Labour councillor who was elected in Hartlepool after the drawing of straws said it was a "rollercoaster of emotions" before finding out he was victorious.

Thursday, 13th May 2021, 5:44 pm

At the Hartlepool Borough Council local elections, Labour pair Moss Body and Julie Clayton both received 558 votes in the Rossmere ward, leaving them tied for the third seat on the council for the area.

Denise McGuckin, council managing director and returning officer, therefore announced straws would have to be drawn before a “stunned” Cllr Body emerged victorious.

Cllr Body, who drew first, said his immediate reaction once they were drawn was that he had lost.

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Moss Boddy, centre, draws the winning straw watched by council managing director Denise McGuckin, left, and Anthony Frain, right, who was Julie Clayton's election agent.

He said: “Having thought I’d lost, I went from oh well that’s how it is and good luck to Julie and congratulations, to bloody hell I’ve won!

“It was a bit of a rollercoaster really, from the moment when we found out there were two tied, until I actually discovered I’d won when I actually thought I’d lost, so it was a very strange experience.”

He added he was disappointed for Ms Clayton, who could not attend the count and therefore had election agent for the Labour candidates Anthony Frain standing in for her for the darw, and he apologised to her afterwards.

He also noted they did not ask for a recount as they were both Labour candidates although they would likely have done so if they had tied with another party or group.

Newly-elected Hartlepool borough councillor Moss Boddy.

Cllr Boddy is a former leader of the council, having previously been on the local authority for more than 20 years until 2003, and he added he has had past experience with close votes in elections.

He said: “In my council career I’ve won by a lot, but when I lost my seat I lost by three votes and then I stood again, not immediately after, and I lost the second time by seven votes.

“I’ve had a bit of a rollercoaster, so with the drawing of the straws, I’ve got the full set now. A big win, two very close losses, and a tie.”

He added now he has been elected, priorities for the “fantastic” Rossmere ward include tackling litter, anti-social behaviour, improving the area around Wynyard Mews and maintaining Rossmere Park.

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