TEACHER Barrie Hall comfortably won the district council by-election held yesterday (Thursday).

Cllr Hall, who works at Richard Huish College, held the North Curry and Ruishton seat for the majority Liberal Democrats group on Somerset West and Taunton Council.

He polled 798 votes, ahead of Thomas Linnell (Conservative) on 678 votes and Catherine Parmenter (Green Party) with 133 votes.

The victory is the Lib Dems’ third by-election win in three months in the district.

The Conservatives threw everything at the election, including sending out Conservative MP Rebecca Pow visiting homes in Ruishton and Stoke St Mary on polling day to support the Tory candidate.

The vacancy was created by the recent resignation of long-serving LibDem councillor Phil Stone.

Cllr Hall said: “I’m honoured to be elected by people in local villages from North Curry to Ruishton and Stoke St Mary and to follow Phil Stone’s decades long liberal tradition in our area, but my first priority is to do my very best to represent everyone in the ward whether they voted for me or not."

Somerset County Gazette:

Mr Stone said: “I am extremely pleased that residents of North Curry and Ruishton have chosen Barrie, who I know will continue to care for our local environment which has always been a priority for me and the Lib Dem team as a whole.”

Gideon Amos, Lib Dem parliamentary spokesperson, said: “I’m proud of our local government colleagues, such as Barrie, who are all focused as a team on listening to local residents, being careful with public money, taking forward our planet positive agenda and investing in our local community.

"The Lib Dem councillor team will now be working even harder for local people with a new member on board."

LibDem leader of the council Cllr Federica Smith-Roberts expressed her delight with the vote saying: “This is an excellent result for a great local  candidate.

"As the third LibDem by-election victory in the last two months this is another vote of confidence in the work of the LibDem administration on Somerset West and Taunton council; from building new council homes, protection of the environment and tackling climate change, to supporting our communities and regenerating our town centres, all whilst dealing with the effects of the pandemic and facing the yet further local government reorganisation being imposed on us.

"We are so glad that Barrie will be joining the team and I know he will repay voters faith in him by continuing to deliver for the people of Somerset West and Taunton.”