Tories seize victory in ward election

IPSWICH'S Conservative party is celebrating today after one of its own was picked by voters to fill a vacant seat in the Castle Hill area of the town. The seat on Ipswich Borough Council, one of three for the ward, was previously held by former council leader Dale Jackson who was booted out in May after failing to attend a meeting for more than six months.

IPSWICH'S Conservative party is celebrating today after one of its own was picked by voters to fill a vacant seat in the Castle Hill area of the town.

The seat on Ipswich Borough Council, one of three for the ward, was previously held by former council leader Dale Jackson who was booted out in May after failing to attend a meeting for more than six months.

Robin Vickery, standing for the Tories, was chosen to represent the ward by the overwhelming majority of those who turned out to vote yesterday.

Mr Vickery, who runs a shop in Castle Hill, took 1,028 of the total of 1,697 votes cast (60.6 per cent).

John Harris, Labour, polled 385 votes (22.7pc), while Nigel Cheeseman, Liberal Democrats, polled 284 votes (16.7pc).

The turnout for the election was 28.7pc.

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Liz Harsant, the ConservLeader of Ipswich Borough Council, (Conservative), said: “We are very heartened by the result.

“Robin Vickery runs a shop in Castle Hill and is very popular.

“He will be a great asset to the administration.”

Castle Hill's two other councillors, Henry Davies and David Goldsmith, are both Conservative as well.

The outcome of the ballot gives the Tories a total of 21 councillors sitting on Ipswich Borough Council.

The Liberal Democrats have nine and Labour 18.

Mr Jackson was leader of the Tory group on the borough council for just over a year.

He became group leader in February 2004 and in September that year negotiated a coalition with the liberal Democrats to take over the administration.

However, in March 2005 he was forced to stand down as leader when the government's standards board started an investigation into his conduct following a complaint from councillor Stephen Barker about a letter sent to his daughter.

After he was cleared Mr Jackson tried to regain his position as leader but his bid was rejected by Liz Harsant who took control of the administration earlier that year.

He failed to attend any meetings since November 2006 and under council rules was forced to surrender his seat.

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