Long-serving Corby Lib Dem who failed to win seat on new council says he won’t be walking away

A long-serving Liberal Democrat councillor in Corby who was unable to win a seat on the new North Northamptonshire Council said he won’t be walking away from politics and his group lives “to fight another day.”

Chris Stanbra at last week's election count
Chris Stanbra at last week's election count

Chris Stanbra who first became a councillor in 2003, lost his bid to win a seat for the Oakley ward of the unitary authority at last week’s local elections.

Mr Stanbra had represented the Oakley division on the county council since 2017. He served on Corby Borough Council from 2003 to 2015.

He polled the most of the three Liberal Democrat candidates standing in the ward with 969 votes, but Labour candidates won all three seats with 1,491, 1,482 and 1,334 votes.

The Corby and East Northants Liberal Democrat group will now meet on Monday (May 17) to decide a way forward after both Mr Stanbra and fellow shadow authority councillor Andrew Dutton lost their seats, leaving the party with no representation on the new council.

Mr Stanbra said: “At this election, it was the fact that the electorate had decided that what they wanted was Labour and they went out and voted for it.

“And that’s fine, that’s absolutely fine. We live to fight another day, we’re not going away.

“We’ll still be here. We’ll be holding the Conservatives to account from outside the council.

“And likewise we will also be holding Labour to account because, for instance, in the ward I was representing, they made some specific pledges about what they were going to do in the ward and I will be wanting to make sure they deliver on those pledges.”

Looking at the success of the Greens in the Clover Hill ward of Kettering where all three candidates were elected, Mr Stanbra said: “I have to say the Greens did in that seat what Liberal Democrats have done for years and years all over the country which is to campaign hard on a local issue, stand up for the community that is affected by that local issue and then win the election and represent that community at the council.

“It’s something that Liberal Democrats are well known for in many parts of the country, which is that strong, community campaigning and fair play to the Greens, they did it really well.”

Monday’s meeting will see members discuss a strategy for the coming years.

“I will definitely carry on being a Liberal Democrat activist,” added Mr Stanbra. “I’m a party member. I’ll continue to be a party member.

“We’re having a meeting of our team to decide where we’re going to go from here, what our strategy’s going to be for the next couple of years looking at the build up to the next set of elections.

“We had some good results across North Northamptonshire. In Oundle, for instance, we established ourselves once again as the challengers to the Conservatives.

“You’ve only got to look at the result over there, Charlie Best, 1,600 votes, only about three or four hundred votes behind Jason Smithers, the leader of the council elect.

“We’ve established a strong basis even here in Oakley. While we didn’t win, nearly 1,000 people voted for me and I owe them something.

“And I shan’t be walking away that’s for sure.”