Big swing for party on Morpeth Town Council

From left, Tory town councillors Jack Gebhard, Rachael Hogg, Johnny Wearmouth, Joao Parreira, Richard Wearmouth, David Bawn and Dave Herne.
From left, Tory town councillors Jack Gebhard, Rachael Hogg, Johnny Wearmouth, Joao Parreira, Richard Wearmouth, David Bawn and Dave Herne.
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The Conservatives are now the largest party on Morpeth Town Council after a successful election.

From just one councillor before the poll, the party now has nine members.

The Liberal Democrats saw the number of their seats fall from nine to five. Experienced councillor Nic Best (Green Party) was also elected.

Stobhill ward member Johnny Wearmouth, who joined the council after winning a by-election last year, will lead the Tories on the town council.

He said: “I am delighted to welcome so many of my Conservative colleagues to the town council.

“As the county council also turned blue, Morpeth has a great opportunity to have its voice heard at County Hall.

“We are all extremely grateful to everyone who voted for us to represent them and I am sure that we will achieve a great deal in the coming years to repay that faith.”

Coun Andrew Tebbutt, one of the Lib Dems re-elected, said: “We were disappointed to lose four seats, but on reflection we’re fairly pleased that five of us were elected given the tsunami effect of the Conservatives across Northumberland.

“Now that the Conservatives have a majority, it will be an interesting few months as the new team of councillors deal get to grips with being the largest party on the council.

“Hopefully, everyone will adopt the position – as with previous councils – that all 15 councillors work together for the good of Morpeth and not get bogged down in political dogma.”

Coun Best said: “I’m really pleased and grateful to the people of Morpeth North for re-electing me and I look forward to continuing to serve them like I have done for the past 20 years.

“Since party politics doesn’t have a huge part to play in the town council’s activities, I know that everyone who stood for election has the best interests of the town at heart and hopefully the new council will recognise this and work closely together.”

One of the youngest councillors to be elected in Northumberland was Jack Gebhard (Kirkhill ward).

The 24-year-old said: “I’d like to thank the people of Kirkhill who put their trust in the Conservative team. We worked hard for the ward over four years and it was humbling to have this work rewarded.

“For my own part, I’d like to pay tribute to my own election to my grandfather, also Jack Gebhard. He died before I was born, but was known to many people in the town.

“I’ve tried to carve out my own niche, away from the family name, but have spoken to many people on the doorsteps who have taught me a great deal about him.

“I am told that he was asked a number of times if he’d stand for council but didn’t believe in his own oratory skills. While I work to deliver for the town, I will do so hoping to make him proud.”

Another new councillor is Rachael Hogg. She said: “I’m really pleased that the people of Morpeth North have put their trust in me – I feel very privileged to be elected.

“The top three issues raised with me during the campaign were the proposed County Hall move to Ashington being a waste of money, school places in Morpeth and highways matters such as the lack of parking in the town centre and the state of the roads.

“We (the Conservative group on the council) have a really good and energised young team. We will give the town council a new dynamic and will be bringing some new ideas to the table, which I think has been overdue.”

RESULTS

MORPETH KIRKHILL – Elected: Jack Gebhard (Conservative) 1,113; Kate Holmes (Conservative) 961; Andrew Tebbutt (Liberal Democrat) 1,064; Joan Tebbutt (Liberal Democrat) 945; Richard Wearmouth (Conservative) 1,266. Not elected: Rod Bramald (Labour) 346; Jayne Clayton (Conservative) 888; Dorothy Moore (Liberal Democrat) 708; Charlotte Peacock (Conservative) 806; Adrian Slassor (Labour) 363.

MORPETH NORTH – Elected: David Bawn (Conservative) 1,180; Nic Best (Green Party) 1,002; Les Cassie (Liberal Democrat) 898; Rachael Hogg (Conservative) 871; Richard Thompson (Liberal Democrat) 772. Not elected: Peter Allan (Liberal Democrat) 756; Justin Clayton (Conservative) 721; Mark Owen (Labour) 381; Bob Robertson (Independent) 516; Paul Sellars (Conservative) 712.

MORPETH STOBHILL – Elected: Nicola Bawn (Conservative) 760; Alison Byard (Liberal Democrat) 850; Dave Herne (Conservative) 782; Joao Parreira (Conservative) 765; Johnny Wearmouth (Conservative) 869. Not elected: Dorothy Downing (Labour) 318; Dave Hogg (Independent) 356; Mark Horton (Liberal Democrat) 412; Dave Pope (Liberal Democrat) 424; Paul Scott (Independent) 383; Brenda Stanton (Labour) 327.