Labour wins Kettering Northall Ward by-election in hotly-contested North Northants Council seat

The by-election was triggered by the sudden death of Cllr Kevin Thurland in November
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After a fiercely-fought by-election, for the North Northants Council (NNC) Northall ward Labour’s Keli Watts has emerged victorious.

The battle for the seat had been triggered following the death of Conservative Cllr Kevin Thurland – and his wife Lesley chose to stand for his seat.

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But it was Keli Watts for Labour who came top of the poll with 1,027 votes, Mrs Thurland received 805 with the Green Party’s Ria Skelton polling 658.

Lesley Thurland and Keli WattsLesley Thurland and Keli Watts
Lesley Thurland and Keli Watts

In an emotional speech at the count in NNC’s Kettering offices, Cllr Watts thanked her election team and paid tribute to the late Cllr Thurland embracing Mrs Thurland.

She said: “I’d like to thank my team, and I am going to cry now, it’s a real shame we are in this position because we shouldn’t be, but we are and we’re going to go forward and remember what he (Kevin Thurland) and you have done for us.”

She added: “I’m relieved, it’s been a tough campaign. I’m so pleased with the result and very very excited to start my new job and can’t wait to get on for the people of Kettering.”

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Mrs Thurland said: “I think I’ve done Kevin proud. Don’t forget the reason why we’re here doing this, he was a good man and became an organ donor and saved two people’s lives. He was well thought of and that’s the reason why I wanted to do this. Congratulations to Keli – I can work with her so you won’t see the last of me.”

Newly-elected Labour councillor Keli Watts with her supportersNewly-elected Labour councillor Keli Watts with her supporters
Newly-elected Labour councillor Keli Watts with her supporters

Ria Skelton said: “I feel really pleased and think people are willing to hear what the Greens have to say.”

The full result was as follows:

Keli Watts, Labour - 1,027 (38 percent)

Lesley Thurland, Conservative - 805 (29.79 per cent)

Ria Skelton, Green Party - 658 (24.35 per cent)

Stephen Silver, Liberal Democrat - 127 (4.7 per cent)

Jehad Soliman Aburamadan, Reform UK - 85 (3.14 per cent)

Out of the 10,547 electorate just 2,711 voters turned out to vote – a 25.7 per cent turnout .

There were ten spoiled votes.

At the 2021 NNC election, turnout was 31.9 per cent.