Tories win Fenland Council by election but strong performance from first time UKIP candidate

Michelle Tanfield

Michelle Tanfield - Credit: Archant

The Conservatives held onto a seat on Fenland District Council but a first time UKIP candidate came near to causing a major upset.

For former Conservative councillor and one time cabinet member Phil Webb it was another loss as an independent as he watched his share of the poll plummet.

The winning candidate in the Elm and Christchurch ward, Michelle Tanfield, is also a Wisbech town councillor.

She topped the poll with 301 votes in the by election caused by the death of long standing Fenland councillor Mac Cotterell.

Ms Tanfield beat off the challenge of four other candidates to secure victory but it was her UKIP challenger Alan Burbridge who came closest polling 234 votes to secure runner up position.

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Mr Burbridge, along with Mr Webb, were the only candidates to live in the ward. Labour fielded Dean Reeves of Wisbech who polled 51 votes whilst Lib Dem candidate Trevor Brookman of March came bottom with just 27 votes.

At the 2011 election Mr Webb, a local parish councillor, came third with 268 votes in which both Mr Cotterell and Will Sutton were returned. Mr Cotterell topped the poll with 711 votes whilst Mr Sutton came second with 489 votes.

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The winning candidate is a Wisbech resident and businesswoman having run a computer recycling business in the Fens for eight years.

She is a former professional musician with a BA honours degree in media and performance from the University of Salford.

One of the first to congratulate Ms Tanfield was the defeated Labour candidate.

Mr Reeves tweeted: “Congratulations to Michelle Tanfield for Conservative hold…..and more importantly beating UKIP back”,

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