Liberal Democrat candidate Sarah Redrup took a sizable victory in the Wootton Bridge by-election overnight, restoring Lib Dem control of the seat for the first time since 1998.
Sarah secured 475 votes from local residents, a majority of 184 over the Conservative’s Ed Hopper. Linda Pitcher received 178 votes and the Green’s ‘paper candidate’, Michael Smith, just 48.
Turnover was down on the previous election by 4.61%, with only 994 people casting a vote against the eligible number of 2,830 – a turnout of 35.12%. 369 of the votes were postal votes. It was the 1st Isle of Wight Council election which required residents to produce photo ID to vote.
The win at the polls makes 29-year-old Sarah one of the youngest members of the Isle of Wight Council and the 1st Lib Dem to hold Wootton in 25 years, since Maureen Stolworthy. Sarah’s father, Ray Redrup, is a Conservative councillor for Newport West and was elected in May 2021.
Sarah, who was born in Essex, is a local businesswoman who runs Grace’s Bakery with her family and when not working she enjoys Island heritage and volunteering at the Isle of Wight Steam Railway.
The Wootton Bridge vacancy was forced by the resignation of Daryll Pitcher in July earlier this year. The former Vectis Party leader was jailed in April for historic child sex abuses but remained as an Isle of Wight councillor for a further 3 months. His mother, Linda, was vying to replace him in this week’s by-election.
Since the turn of the millennium, the Wootton Bridge seat has been held by either Barry Abraham or Daryll Pitcher so this week’s win is massive for the local Lib Dem party. It is the 2nd Isle of Wight Council by-election the Liberal Democrats have won in 9 months, after Councillor Nick Stuart took control of Brighstone, Calbourne and Shalfleet in November last year.
Sarah will now join her 3 fellow Lib Dem councillors at County Hall, making the group of 4 the joint 3rd largest on the local authority.
In her speech, Sarah thanked the people of Wootton for voting for her, despite being a ‘newbie’ to the game.
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