The Liberal Democrats are celebrating a resounding by-election victory on North Yorkshire Council.

Dan Sladden took 41.5 per cent of the votes for the party in the by-election for the Sowerby and Topcliffe division, near Thirsk, yesterday (Thursday, November 30).

The turnout was 29.27 per cent, with 1,838 votes cast from an electorate of 6,279.

The full results:

  • Dave Elders, The Conservative Party: 460 votes.
  • Stew Exotic, The Official Monster Raving Loony Party: 20 votes.
  • John Philip Hall, The Yorkshire Party: 35 votes.
  • John Timothy Law, The Green Party: 306 votes.
  • Dan Sladden, The Liberal Democrat Party: 764 votes (elected).
  • Helen Kathleen Tomlinson, The Labour Party: 250 votes.

The election was held due to the resignation of Green councillor Dave Whitfield on health grounds.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Dan Sladden (centre) and the Lib Dem team at the Sowerby and Topcliffe count

Church of England reverend Cllr Sladden, who sings professionally with York Minster and Ripon Cathedral choirs, said: “I’m so honoured by this result. It’s been an absolute pleasure meeting so many residents over the last few weeks and that they turned out to vote Lib Dem in such numbers is humbling."

The father-of-five, who lives in Sowerby with his family, added: “Last year, Dave Whitfield managed to show that this area is no longer a Conservative stronghold.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Dan Sladden, right, the winner of the Sowerby and Topcliffe by-election, with returning officer

“I want to build on the hope that Dave initiated and work toward a better future for Sowerby and Topcliffe with my fellow residents.

“I am truly humbled by the faith they have put in me at the ballot box and I look forward to serving as their councillor with the official opposition Lib Dems on North Yorkshire Council.”

Campaign group Compass York & North Yorkshire had publicly called on the Lib Dems and Labour to withdraw their candidates to avoid splitting the opposition to the Conservative candidate, writing to the leaders of both parties and launching a public petition calling on them to withdraw from the election, a move that sparked a debate over tactical voting.