Labor has lost to the Liberal Democrats in a Manchester council by-election that was called after one councilor quit blaming a “toxic culture” in the ruling group.
The Liberal Democrats’ candidate, Alan Good, was elected in Ancoats and Beswick, beating Labor’s Gareth Worthington by 320 votes yesterday.
The 26-year-old software developer has now become the second Lib Dem on the city council and one of only three opposition councilors in Manchester.
READ MORE: Councilor breaks ranks in extraordinary attack on Labor group whips at Manchester City Hall
It follows Marcia Hutchinson who resigned as a councilor just six months after she was first elected to the role, claiming she was bullied by the Labor group.
She also said she was ‘treated differently’ as one of the only black councillors, and spoke of a ‘toxic culture’, but the local party has denied all allegations.
Council leader Bev Craig, who replaced Sir Richard Leese the day after the councilor resigned, is now calling for an end to ‘slander’ in her party.
Speaking after the by-election results, Manchester council’s first new leader in 25 years promised to serve all residents regardless of who they vote for.
She said: “By-elections across the country generally tend to be hit or miss.
“I will be spending the next few days talking to colleagues and looking at what we need to do to support our Labor councilors in the area who are working for residents.
“We have 96 councilors on the council, 93 of them are Labour.
“I’ve set a very strong vision for what we’re going to offer our city and every resident I talk to supports it.
Jo is a local democracy reporter covering councils, the NHS and other local authorities in Manchester and Greater Manchester. She previously covered local government in Bolton, Bury, Salford and Wigan.
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“I want to have inclusive leadership within my group in the future that supports all the talent we have.
“I want us to get past some of the name calling from the past to make sure we’re here to do what the residents want us to do, and that is put them first.”
Liberal Democrat candidate Alan Good received 1,113 votes, 53.2% of the total.
The newly elected councillor, who has served in Ancoats and Beswick before, said winning feels ‘surreal’ but the victory shows the Lib Dems ‘can win anywhere’.
He said: “I have spoken to hundreds of residents who feel ignored and neglected by our council in two seemingly disparate areas.
“Something that united them was the desire for change.
“I want to show the people of Ancoats and Beswick that I will be a representative who shows up to work and works hard all year long.”
Labor candidate Gareth Worthington, who came second with 793 votes, said he was disappointed but wished the winner well in his new role as councillor.
He said: “I hope our community does well because that’s what matters most to me – Ancoats and Beswick. So I wish Alan the best. I’m going to keep going. I still want to be on my feet again because I love where we live. “
Green Party candidate Chris Perriam, who received 119 votes, said he was “very pleased” with the result, describing it as “good news for democracy”.
Conservative Party candidate Alex Bramham, who came in last with 66 votes, said he understands the frustration expressed by voters in the district.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.