Kingston Independent Residents Group (KIRG) representative Yvonne Tracey has been elected the new councillor of Green Lane and St James Ward in New Malden.
Tracey told the Kingston Courier: “I’m very humbled. I didn’t think I would win. It’s very hard to get elected as an independent candidate.”
Her previous occupation was a deputy manager of New Malden’s post office, before becoming treasurer for the KIRG.
Tracey said: “At least there’s two of us to shout now.”
Born in New Malden, Tracey has lived in the area for 67 years. She said she hoped that she can give back to the people who voted by holding the council to account.
One of the first things on her agenda is improving the cycle lane by removing bollards and implementing a ‘give way’ sign.
Graham Bennet*, 67, a retired accountant, was specifically interested in fixing the cycle lanes. He said: “There are more cyclists on the pavement than the road.”
Graham, dismissive about local elections in general said: “Anybody but Lib Dems.”
The by-election was triggered after the Liberal Democrat Councillor Tim Cobbett resigned at the end of September.
The Liberal Democrats, represented by Mahmood Rafiq, failed to defend their seat.
The result comes after a controversial leaflet was circulated in New Malden making claims about Rafiq’s association with the Ahmadiyya Muslim community.
The result is not such a blow to the Liberal Democrats, who may have struggled to argue for a 44th councillor in Kingston.
Kingston Conservative party remains the major opposition party to the Liberal Democrats with three elected councillors.
Many voters opted for postal voting over going to the ballot in-person as autumnal elections are often poorer turnouts.
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