Christine Whelan elected as district councillor for Ely South after Liberal Democrat victory at by-election

Councillors Lorna Dupré and Christine Whelan.

Councillors Lorna Dupré and Christine Whelan. - Credit: Archant

Lib Dem Christine Whelan took only their party’s third seat on East Cambs District Council following a spectacular by election win yesterday.

These are the results for the Ely South Ward by-election.

These are the results for the Ely South Ward by-election. - Credit: Archant

Cllr Whelan swept to victory helped by a 16.4 per cent swing from the Conservatives.

“We did it!” she tweeted soon after the result was declared. “Thank you to everyone who helped me and voted for me. Many thanks to my awesome team – I couldn’t have done it without them.”

The by election was caused by the resignation of Conservative councillor Tom Hunt who quit to take a political role under Mayor James at the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority.

Cllr Whelan took 527 votes with Sarah Bellow receiving 411 votes and Labour’s Rebecca Bellow being squeezed narrowly into third place with 384 votes. The turn out was 40.2 per cent.

The winner joins her two Lib Dem colleagues Sue Austen (Ely West) and Lorna Dupre (Sutton) on the sparsely populated opposition benches at East Cambs; the council is Tory controlled apart from an independent.

Cllr Whelan, who narrowly missed out on winning a county council seat in May, says she will be fighting “to make Ely an even better place to live.

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“The city has doubled in size in 20 years but the infrastructure we need has been neglected by the Conservative-run councils.

“People need a third doctors’ surgery in Ely so that waiting times, of up to five weeks at St Mary’s, fall significantly.

“We need more school places as some Ely children are having to go to Witchford and there are more houses about to be built.

“And we need to improve the A10 and public transport to Cambridge.

Two years ago, Christine was elected as a member of Ely City Council. She recently voted against the plans to redevelop the market square.

She said: “We also need to protect our beautiful historic city. The Conservatives are putting its future in danger, by building on Barton Road car park and now backing an awful four-storey building on the market place.

“Ely deserves better than it has been getting from East Cambs Council and I want to be a strong voice for local residents.”