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LOCAL ELECTIONS: LIB DEMS TROUNCE LABOUR FAVOURITE IN WATFORD MAYORAL UPSET

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By LGC reporter Jon Hanlon in Watford ...
By LGC reporter Jon Hanlon in Watford

Liberal Democrat candidate Dorothy Thornhill has won a landslide victory at Watford BC's mayoral election.

Ms Thornhill beat favourite Vince Muspratt after polling well over half Labour's vote, as the results were announced at just before 2.30am.

Ms Thornhill, who is a deputy head teacher, polled 13,473 compared with just 5,269 for the current council leader, a difference of more than 8,000 votes.

The system was run under the 'single transferable vote' and second votes were counted with Ms Thornhill receiving 2,519 second preferences compared to just 370 for Mr Muspratt.

Turnout was higher than expected as more than 37% made their

way to the polls as both Mr Muspratt and Ms Thornhill knocked on doors and visited polling stations up until the last minute.

Tristram Cooke, representing the Fat Cat Party came last with 330 votes but Mr Cooke will be heartened by the result as he aimed to get just 100 votes.

The Fat Cat Party, whose policies include: 'to make the law up as we go along,' ended the night just 60 votes behind Paul Woodward of the Socialist Alliance.

Stephen Rackett (Green) polled 851 and Gary Ling (Con) polled 4,746 despite Mr Muspratt's fears the Conservatives were the main challengers to Labour.

Ms Thornhill said: 'People are dissatisfied with the current leadership. We will restore confidence in the council's finances.'

She was whisked away to Liberal Democrat headquarters in Westminster just a few hours after her victory, leaving behind a jubilant campaign team.

Her husband Iain Sharpe, who is leader of the Liberal Democrat group, said: 'This is something we have worked very hard for and I think it's a sign people want a change in the way Watford BC is run. They want the mayoralty to represent something new.'

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