Defeated Lib Dem's astonishing "something rotten remains in Fenland Hall" gibe at election count

PUBLISHED: 17:14 06 May 2011 | UPDATED: 17:14 06 May 2011

Pictures for Brakespeare Friday 28 Jan 2011.
Chris Howes

Pictures for Brakespeare Friday 28 Jan 2011. Chris Howes

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DEFEATED Lib Dem activist Chris Howes launched an extraordinary assault against Fenland District Council after his latest bid to win a Chatteris seat ended in failure.

“It’s deeply disappointing,” he said. “I believe that something rotten remains in Fenland Hall, that the ghosts of the previous regime haven’t been exercised.

“I have tried for eight years to become a district councillor to find out what has really been happening.”

He claimed his victorious Tory opponent in Slade Lode ward, Florrie Newell, “didn’t get 50 per cent of the vote and if there hadn’t been a Labour candidate standing as well it would have been a lot closer.”

On a more conciliatory note he added: “I would however like to wish Florrie every success because I have no doubt that she has the good of Chatteris at her heart. But I just feel it’s time for a new approach and some different faces.”

Tory supporters flocked to Cllr Newell as she pulled off a decisive victory.

Close to tears Cllr Newell said after the count: “That meant a lot to me. I really do fight very hard for Chatteris.”

The challenge by town councillor Chris Howes, who for years has campaigned ferociously to win this or any Chatteris seat for the Lib Dems, came to little as he fell victim to his party’s current political unpopularity.

Cllr Newell, ironically a former Lib Dem who quit and joined the Tories after becoming disillusioned with local activists, said “I want to do another four years to complete what I have started.

“I shouldn’t but I have got worried about who would do what I do. I am halfway there for leisure in Chatteris. I need the swimming pool and then I will have done my bit.

“I have worked so hard for this swimming pool. My colleagues think they might throw me in if we get it.

“I’m so thankful for all the support I have got. It has renewed my faith in human nature.

SLADE LODE (Chatteris)

-1 seat-

Chris Howes (Lib Dem) 206

Florence Newell (Con) 301

Grant Osbourn (Lab) 140

Turn out: 32.23 per cent

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