‘East Devon District Council elections: Independents deliver blow to the Conservatives’

North Devon and Torridge are going to the polls.

North Devon and Torridge are going to the polls. - Credit: Matt Smart

Tory defector and council leader Ian Thomas amongst the winners

It was 'independents' day as the East Devon District Council election results were announced today (Friday, May 3).

Candidates not affiliated to any of the main stream Parties recorded some significant victories, topping the poll in several wards.

Both pure independents and members of the Independent East Devon Alliance (IEDA) did well.

Hre's how the seats were allocated:

Independent (including Independent East Devon Alliance) : 31

Conservative: 19

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Lib Dem: 8

Green: 2

Paul Arnott, chairman of the IEDA said: " "We would like to thank the voters of East Devon for electing all 11 of our candidates. We will now spend the next week seeking to forge alliances with other councillors willing to work with us to continue our fight for reform of local governance. We believe that in East Devon this result was not about Brexit but an expression of a hope for positive change to how things are done in our villages, towns and district. Our mission now will be to deliver that change with complete determination in the interests of all local people."

Jenny Brown was one of the Conservative Party casualties - losing her bid to win a Honiton St Paul's ward seat, after switching from the St Michael's ward which she presented for four years. She ended just one vote behind fellow Tory and sitting member Dean Barrow - the voting was 385-384. Independent Tony McCollum topped the poll with 632.

EDDC leader Ian Thomas retained his Trinity Ward seat - despite his shock resignation from the Conservative Party shortly before the elections.

He defeated his Labour Party rival Sarah Birnie by 635 votes to 249.

Although still listed on the ballot paper as a Tory, Cllr Thomas said he had personally written to more than 2,000 electors in the ward to make it clear he would be serving as a independent councillor if elected.

"I have done my best not to mislead anyone," he stressed.

Councillor Thomas will remain leader of the council until the annual meeting on May 22.

Cllr Iain Chubb, from Axminster, retained his seat on the Newbridges Ward for the Conservatives, defeating the Labour Party candidate George Neate by 617 votes to 216. There was a 42.6 per cent turnout.

Cllr Chubb said: "I am pleased to be re-elected after serving for 12 years and working positively for the people in East Devon as a whole, helping to provide a good service efficiently."

Independent Geoff Pook won the Beer and Branscombe seat, beating Labour Party candidate John Gregory by 601 votes to 106.

He said: "I would like to thank everyone who voted and to John Gregory for making it a competition. I look forward to representing everyone in this extended ward now including West Seaton and hope that the people of West Seaton don't hesitate to contact me if they have any issues."

Conservative Phil Twiss topped the poll in the Honiton St Michael's ward with 790 votes. Fellow Tory Mike Allen was second with 763 and Liberal Democrat Luke Jeffery took the third seat with 700 votes.

Cllr Allen said: "I am delighted Phil Twiss and I have been re-elected so we can continue to serve well as we have done for the past eight years or more.

"But clearly there has been a very strong protest vote nationally with the number of Conservative votes down. We will make sure the district council remains strongly orientated towards economic growth and good housing whilst protecting the environment."

At Ottery St Mary Independents took all three seats.

Vicky Johns topped the poll with 1,501 votes, with Geoff Pratt in second place with 1,044, followed by Peter Faithfull with 878. The turnout was 37.8 per cent

Vicky Johns put her victory down to asking people what they wanted and listening to their answers.

She also praised her campaign manager Roger Giles.

At Axminster Sarah Jackson, standing for the first time as an Independent East Devon Alliance candidate, topped the poll with 1,001 votes.

Both sitting Conservatives, district council chairman Andrew Moulding and Ian Hall, with 818 and 740 votes respectively, were returned, but veteran Liberal Democrat Douglas Hull lost his long-held seat.

Speaking after her win Sarah Jackson, standing as the only independent candidate in the Axminster election, said: "I am absolutely elated and looking forward to it.

"I believe your local elected representatives should answer to the public, not their party. Axminster has so much to offer and potentially a great future…we can unlock Axminster's potential without destroying its unique charm."

Another Independent East Devon Alliance candidate - Axminster town councillor and former mayor Paul Hayward - won the Yarty ward with 492 votes, ahead of Tory Alasdair Bruce on 296.

And at Seaton East Devon Independent Alliance candidates Dan Ledger and former mayor Jack Rowland were elected with 1,561 votes and 1,392 votes respectively The third seat was retained by Conservative Marcus Hartnell. Former mayor and sitting member Liberal Democrat Peter Burrows lost his seat.

Full list of results:

Axminster - 3 seats

Ian Hall

Conservative Party 818 Elected

Steve Holt

Conservative Party - 640

Douglas R Hull

Liberal Democrat - 560

Sarah Louise Jackson

Independent East Devon Alliance - 1001 Elected

Susan Patricia Kerr

Liberal Democrat - 429

Andrew Timothy Moulding

Conservative Party - 740 Elected

Martin Mynard

Labour Party - 262

Elizabeth Pole

Labour Party - 306

Martin David George Spurway

Liberal Democrat - 357

Jeremy William Walden

Labour Party - 403

Rejected votes: 15 Turnout: 35%

Beer & Branscombe - 1 seat

John Gregory

Labour Party - 106

Geoff Pook

Independent - 601 Elected

Rejected votes: 17 Turnout: 32.99%

Broadclyst - 3 seats

Sarah Louise Chamberlain

Liberal Democrats - 612 Elected

Paul Diviani

Conservative Party - 319

Henry Frederick Gent

Green Party - 426

Rebecca-Jayne Lipscombe

Liberal Democrats - 397

Rob Longhurst

Conservative Party - 345

Chris Pepper

Conservative Party - 506 Elected

Eleanor Rylance

Liberal Democrats - 555 Elected

Rejected votes: 30 Turnout: 29%

Budleigh & Raleigh - 3 seats

Alan Dent

Conservative Party - 1112 Elected

Pete Duke

Green Party - 971

Brigitte Lesley Graham

Independence Party - 518

Patsy Hayman

Conservative Party - 982

Paul Michael Jarvis

Independent - 1187 Elected

Penny Lewis

Liberal Democrats - 907

Thomas D Wright

Conservative Party - 999 Elected

Rejected papers: 11 Turnout: 41.03%

Clyst Valley - 1 seat UNCONTESTED

Mike Howe

Conservative Party Candidate


Coly Valley - 2 seats

Paul Arnott

Independent East Devon Alliance - 938 Elected

Carol Dawson

Labour Party - 382

Helen Elizabeth Parr

Conservative Party - 851 Elected

Andrew Pearsall

Conservative Party - 625

Rejected votes: 17 Turnout: 43.5%

Cranbrook - 3 seats

Kevin Arthur John Blakey

Independent - 427 Elected

Kim Bloxham

Independent - 506 Elected

Pauline Garbutt

Liberal Democrats- 153

Sam Hawkins

Independent - 392 Elected

Sue Mills

Labour Party - 144

Matthew John Osborn

Conservative Party - 228

Nick Partridge

Conservative Party - 221

Rejected votes: 7 Turnout: 25.45%

Dunkeswell & Otterhead - 2 seats

Colin Brown

Conservative Party - 817 Elected

Karen Hoyles

Liberal Democrats - 537

David Key

Conservative Party - 842 Elected

Stephen Robert Kolek

Labour Party - 310

Rejected votes 40 Turnout: 33.70%

Feniton - 1 seat

Susie Bond

Independent- 638 Elected

Adam Michael Powell

Labour Party - 37

John Tristram

Conservative Party - 97

Rejected votes: 6 Turnout: 39.83%

Honiton St Michael`s - 3 seats

Mike Allen

Conservative Party - 763 Elected

Luke Edward Jeffery

Liberal Democrats - 700 Elected

Phil Twiss

Conservative Party- 790 Elected

John Zigmunt Zarczynski

Conservative Party - 530

Rejected votes: 41 Turnout: 25%

Honiton St Paul`s - 2 seats

Dean Barrow

Conservative Party - 385 Elected

Sally Boom

Labour Party

Honiton - 226

Jenny Brown

Conservative Party - 384

Jules Hoyles

Liberal Democrats - 300

Tony McCollum

Independent - 632 Elected

Rejected votes: 22 Turnout: 30%

Newbridges - 1 seat

Iain Chubb

Conservative Party - 617 Elected

George Thomas Robert Neate

Labour Party Candidate - 216

Rejected votes: 41 Turnout: 42.6%

Ottery St Mary - 3 seats

Paul Richard Carter

Conservative Party -Candidate - 477

Anne Edwards

Conservative Party - 428

Peter Hamilton Faithfull

Independent - 878 Elected

Luke Gray

Labour Party Candidate - 381

Vicky Johns

Independent - 1,501 Elected

Margaret Anne Piper

Conservative Party - 245

Geoff Pratt

Independent - 1,044 Elected

Harv Sethi

Independent - 422

Rejected votes: 21 Turnout: 37.8%

Seaton - 3 seats

Peter Warwick Burrows

Liberal Democrat - 515

Terry Burrows

Liberal Democrat - 257

Marcus Hartnell

Conservative Party Candidate - 1,095 Elected

Abi Jones

Labour Party - 298

Dan Ledger

Independent East Devon Alliance

Seaton - 1,561 Elected

Jack Leslie Eric Rowland

Independent East Devon Alliance - 1,392 Elected

Jacquie Russell

Conservative Party Candidate - 504

Juliette Amanda Williams

Liberal Democrat - 300

Rejected votes: 8 Turnout: 40%

Trinity - 1 seat

Sarah Caroline Birnie

Labour Party - 249

Ian Michael Thomas

Independent - 635 Elected

Rejected votes: 46 Turnout: 42.4%

West Hill & Aylesbeare - 1 seat

Jess Bailey

Independent - 956 Elected

John Sheaves

Conservative Party Candidate - 285

Rejected votes: 5 Turnout: 57.13%

Whimple & Rockbeare - 1 seat

Mark Lloyd Evans-Martin

Conservative Party Candidate - 234

Kathy McLauchlan

Independent - 702 Elected

Rejected votes: 5 Turnout: 42.88%

Yarty - 1 seat

Alasdair Sutherland Bruce

Conservative Party Candidate - 296

Diane Susan Cheshire

Labour Party - 53

Paul Graham Hayward

Independent East Devon Alliance - 492 Elected

Gillian Mary Jordan

Liberal Democrat - 99

Rejected votes: 11 Turnout: 44.9%