COUNCIL ELECTIONS: Labour wins comfortably in Torfaen

First published in Election news

LABOUR held on to power in Torfaen with a comfortable majority, but one seat had to be resolved by drawing lots.

The party secured 30 of the 44 seats with a series of new faces set to sit in the council chamber.

Labour candidate Mandy Owen and independent Catherine Lewis received the same number of votes for the Greenmeadow ward on Thursday night.

After several recounts, a ballot paper for each of the two candidates was placed in an empty ballot box and one picked out.

Ms Owen's paper was picked, meaning Ms Lewis missed out by one vote.

Ms Lewis said: "This method hasn't been done for 44 years and it's a very sad way to go out."

New faces for Labour include younger candidates, such as 23-year-old Jessica Powell, who was elected in the Pontnewydd ward.

The Cambridge graduate said: "I'm really pleased. I hope I made a few more young people get out and vote."

David Daniels, 24, was elected in Llantarnam and replaces Conservative Paul Williams.

There were also familiar faces elected to the council, including Pam Cameron in Two Locks whose husband Stuart Cameron is a former councillor for the ward.

Glyn Caron, a former Torfaen councillor for 19 years, missed out in 2008, but decided to stand again in Llanyrafon North and won the seat with 434 votes.  He said: "It's fantastic and totally more than I expected. I'm very very pleased."

The count took more than ten hours after polls closed at 10pm on Thursday, with recounts necessary for Greenmeadow, Llantarnam and Two Locks.

Labour leader Bob Wellington said: "We're at the cutting edge of local democracy and government, and I am sure these new people will be welcomed on board."

He said Torfaen will continue to be a progressive council.

Independent councillors dropped to eight after they lost seats in Greenmeadow, Two Locks, Blaenavon and Pontnewydd, while Plaid Cymru secured two seats and the Conservatives kept all three seats in New Inn, plus one in Llanyrafon South. Voter turnout  was 35.8 per cent.

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