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Redrup On The Up — Lib Dems Secure Controversial Wootton Bridge Seat

Sarah Redrup (credit: Louise Hill)

The Liberal Democrats have secured another seat on the Isle of Wight Council — one it last held 25 years ago.

Yesterday (Thursday) voters went to the polls in Wootton Bridge and elected Sarah Redrup to represent them at County Hall in Newport.

She will replace the disgraced former member, Daryll Pitcher who resigned from the authority three months into his sentence, after he was jailed for historic child sex abuses.

Sarah won the by-election by more than 180 votes and secured nearly half of the vote (47.8 per cent).

She is the first Liberal Democrat to hold the Wootton Bridge seat since Maureen Stolworthy, who was the first to hold the seat, when the Isle of Wight Council became a unitary authority in 1995, until 1998.

Since then the seat has swung between the former Conservative candidate Barry Abraham and Pitcher, under the UKIP and Vectis Party banner respectively, with either of the two filling the Isle of Wight Council position since 1998.

Last night, the Conservative candidate, Ed Hopper, came in second —  winning more than a quarter of the votes, 291.

In third was Linda Pitcher, Daryll Pitcher’s mother, representing the Vectis Party. She received 178 votes.

Gaining 48 votes, Michael Smith, representing the Green Party, came in last place.

Now, Sarah — whose father Ray is a Conservative councillor on the authority — becomes the fourth Liberal Democrat at County Hall. It makes the group the joint third largest.

It is the second Isle of Wight Council by-election the Liberal Democrats have won in nine months, after Cllr Nick Stuart took control of Brighstone, Calbourne and Shalfleet in November last year.

The results for the Wootton Bridge by-election are:

Ed Hopper (Conservative) — 291
Linda Pitcher (Vectis Party) — 178
Sarah Redrup (Liberal Democrat) — 475 ELECTED
Michael Smith (Green Party) — 48

A total of 994 votes were cast with two deemed invalid as people voted for more than one candidate.

It means the turnout was 35.12 per cent of a possible 2,830 voters in the ward.

The turnout was 4.61 per cent down on the previous May 2021 election.

It was the first Isle of Wight Council election which required residents to produce photo ID to vote.

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