Margaret Baldwin wins Topsham ward seat

Margaret Baldwin secured the Topsham ward seat after the Exeter City Council by-election

CONSERVATIVE party candidate Margaret Baldwin won the Topsham ward seat after the Exeter City Council by-election.

Margaret secured more than half of the votes, achieving 780 votes with Eliot Paul Wright, for The Labour Party, coming second with 276.

Emergency by-elections across Exeter were called after one-third of the city council lost their seats following a High Court ruling on the failed unitary authority bid.

Topsham’s seat came available after Conservative city councillor Mark Starling resigned in July.

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Labour became the largest party on the council after winning more than 13 seats available. The party won seven including gains in the Cowick and Pinhoe wards.

The Liberal Democrats, who had controlled the council, lost one of the three seats they were defending.

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Conservatives made two gains overall but also lost two. Voter turnout was 28 per cent and brought the council back to its full complement of 40 councillors. Turnout in Topsham was 33 per cent.

Although no party has an overall majority, Labour is expected to take control.

The decision on which party will run Exeter City Council will be taken at a full council meeting on September 21.

Another set of by-elections for 13 different seats will take place next May.

Exeter and Norwich were granted unitary status by the previous Labour administration in February.

However, a High Court judge said it had ignored criteria such as value for money to allow the change and ruled the by-elections must take place to maintain legality.

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