A WELL-KNOWN councillor who abandoned the Conservatives for Ukip has lost his seat in a by-election.
Coun Mark Chatburn, who is still a Stockton borough councillor, stood down as a Yarm parish councillor after defecting to Ukip.
Many people thought he and two fellow Ukip candidates, Tom Reay and Mandy Boylett, would benefit from a visit from Ukip leader Nigel Farage to Yarm on Wednesday, April 23.
Mr Farage had said Thursday’s Yarm Town Council by-election would be a “litmus test” for how the party was doing in the area, however all three Ukip candidates came bottom of the poll.
The winners, Lorraine Meakin, Martin Kenefec and William Wilkinson, were all members of Yarm Residents Association (YRA).
YRA is are campaigning for a ‘Yarm for Yorkshire’ referendum to be held in the town asking the public if they want to leave Stockton Borough Council and join neighbouring Hambleton District Council which has lower council tax.
YRA has won the support of James Wharton, Conservative MP for Stockton South.
The other three candidates, Carole Jones, Fred Holmes and Paddy Morton were all members of Yarm Independent Association.
Former leading Yarm town councillor, Chris Johnson, had backed the YRA candidates. He said: “I know them well and they really do care about their town and the people who live here.”
Defeated candidate Mark Chatburn said: “There's no denying it was a disappointing result.”
Lorraine Meakin received 1,110 votes, elected, Martin Kenefec, 1,036, elected; William Wilkinson 976 elected.
Carole Jones, 636; Fred Holmes, 623; Paddy Morton, 441, Tom Reay, 385; Mark Chatburn, 368 and Mandy Boylett, 322.
Turn out was just over 30 per cent.