NORTHUMBERLAND ELECTION 2017: Extraordinary end to poll as seat is decided by drawing straws

Lesley Rickerby draws the longest straw after she received the same number of votes as Conservative candidate Daniel Carr.
Lesley Rickerby draws the longest straw after she received the same number of votes as Conservative candidate Daniel Carr.

A dramatic straw draw prevented the Conservative Party from taking the overall majority at the Northumberland County Council election, in an extraordinary finish to the night.

The Tories had already secured 33 seats and needed just one more to snatch overall control for the first time in more than 40 years.

Peter Jackson and Anne-Marie Trevelyan celebrate a great county council election result for the Conservatives.

Peter Jackson and Anne-Marie Trevelyan celebrate a great county council election result for the Conservatives.

This came down to the South Blyth ward – the final division to be decided.

Conservative candidate Daniel Carr and Lib Dem Lesley Rickerby were locked on 356 votes, so the outcome was decided by drawing straws.

The seat had already been recounted three times and Lady Luck was on the side of Coun Rickerby, who drew the longest straw and retained the seat.

Despite the unusual conclusion to the overnight count, leading Conservative Peter Jackson is confident the party can seize control of the administration.

He said: “The non-Conservative councillors are a mixture of different political groups and I am quite sure they will support our common sense agenda to tale the council forward.

“He said that the Tories would fulfil their campaign promise to keep County Hall in Morpeth.”

In contrast, it was a devastating night for the Labour group, who lost eight seats to Conservatives and Independents, as did the Lib Dems.

Follow the incredible action as it happened throughout the night and into this morning on our live blog.

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