Labour takes Bury Council after drawing lots

Joanen Columbine In the absence of straws winning candidate Joanne Columbine drew the longest cable tie

Labour has taken control of Bury Council after the result in a crucial seat was determined by drawing lots.

The Labour candidate chose the longest of two cable ties to win the Ramsbottom seat after three recounts could not separate the Tory and Labour votes.

The Ramsbottom win meant Labour won 26 seats on the council, giving it a majority of one.

The Conservatives took 20 seats and the Liberal Democrats five. The council was previously under no overall control.

Start Quote

It was a very tight finish indeed ”

End Quote Mike Connolly Labour leader in Bury

The seat, which was the last one to be decided, was split by two votes on the first count and tied between Labour and the Conservatives on the second and third counts.

Winning Labour candidate Joanne Columbine and Tory candidate Robert Hodkinson each polled 1,822 votes according to counters at Castle Leisure Centre, Bury.

Councillor Columbine said: "I don't think I've ever had a stranger day.

"We decided we weren't going to toss a coin because I never win, so we opted for cable ties buried in a legal tome.

"One was slightly longer than another and I picked the one on the left."

Bury's leader of the Labour group, councillor Mike Connolly, said: "It's absolutely fantastic. I can't contain my joy.

"It's amazing that we've got this far and Bury Council is back in Labour hands.

"It was a very tight finish indeed and I don't want to go through that again for a very long time.

"The first thing we need to do is to rebuild trust that's been lost through this Tory-led council."

Liberal Democrat leader in Bury, councillor Tim Pickstone, said: "Obviously this is not the best set of elections for the Liberal Democrats, and the results in Bury reflect a similar situation across the region and elsewhere.

"Bury now has a Labour Council, and we wish them the best in taking some difficult decisions over the coming months."

Labour gained six seats in total, three from the Conservatives and three from the Liberal Democrats.

The turnout was 40%, compared to 65% in May 2010.

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