What a great week for the Conservative Party in mid-Cornwall.
I have spent most of the week in Mevagissey, as Thursday was the by-election for the Cornwall Council seat, left vacant in August following the resignation of Michael Bunney, the Labour councillor.
Although I disagreed with Michael’s politics, he was a very good local councillor and someone I have a lot of respect for as a person. When Michael won the election in May last year it was pretty clear this was largely a personal vote, rather than a resounding vote for the Labour Party.
With James in Gorran Haven
The challenge for the Conservative Party was to work hard to secure that personal vote, a factor that is always important in local elections, especially in this part of Cornwall.
In 2013 we came 3rd, after UKIP, and this is an area that UKIP would expect to do well in. With all of these factors in play, our selection of a strong local candidate was critical and so we selected James Mustoe, the 2013 candidate, again.
James is a local Mevagissey man who grew up in the village and has strong local connections. He was an obvious candidate to champion the concerns of the people of Mevagissey ward and it was a pleasure to campaign alongside him.
I am therefore delighted to confirm that James won the by-election and is the new Cornwall Councillor for the Mevagissey Division.
The result was
James Mustoe (Conservative) 348
Lib Dem 197
James and I are very grateful to everyone who voted Conservative on Thursday.
Local by elections are often difficult to predict with low turnouts so this was also an important test of our campaigning team as we build up to May next year.
The result is a testament to James and the team supporting him, not only did we come from 3rd to win the seat, leapfrogging UKIP, we also saw the UKIP share of the vote drop. I am also sure the Lib Dems will be very disappointed to be kept in 4th place behind Labour.
This result shows that we are well on track towards being in a position to win this seat in May next year and see me elected as the MP for St Austell and Newquay.
I also want to say a big thank you to everyone who helped with the campaign. We had a small army of people delivering leaflets, knocking on doors, making phone calls and putting up posters. The weather was atrocious and we all got wet but the engagement from people in the ward kept us going. Politics is always a team game and this week we showed we have the passion and commitment to win next year.
With just some of our excellent team on polling day in Mevagissey
The focus now firmly shifts back to my campaign. It is now less than six months until the election. New people are coming forward to volunteer to help each week and if you would like to join our army of local people working with me then please do get in touch as we would value your active support. Help us become the winning team in May.