‘Good old-fashioned leg work’ gave Brenda Burgess a clue as to what was on people’s minds when she stood for and won the West Sussex County Council seat in Three Bridges.
Mrs Burgess, who also serves on Crawley Borough Council, secured 1,102 votes during last week’s by-election, almost twice that of her nearest rival, Labour’s Angela Malik.
While surprised at the size of the victory, she said she felt it sent a strong ‘get on with it’ message about Brexit from a town that voted to leave the EU.
Mrs Burgess said: “I felt, when canvassing, that the result would be very close although I did experience strong positive remarks aimed at the government in favour of them ‘getting on with the withdrawal from the EU.’
“When the results finally came through showing that I had won the seat, I felt both pleased and honoured that people had chosen to vote for me; however, I must admit to being amazed at the size of the win!
“I feel that the size of the result was perhaps a strong message to Government that people do just want them to ‘get on with it’.”
This by-election, and another in Tilgate, was called following the death of Charles Petts, who represented the wards at county and borough level.
Looking at the path ahead as she takes over from him, Mrs Burgess said: “I want to be a strong voice for the division of Three Bridges with Pound Hill South. I hope to continue the work that Charles started and will try to honour his name. His death was a sad loss to us all.”
High on her ‘to-do’ list will be weeds, the clearing of, which she has highlighted more than once only to be told it was a county council issue. She said she would feel ‘elated’ if she could get that done.
Mrs Burgess added: “I hope to do the seat justice and have just a few months to prove myself before all West Sussex seats are up for election in 2021.”
The honours in the Tilgate by-election, for a seat on Crawley Borough Council, went to Maureen Mwagale.
Ms Mwagale saw off her closest challenger, Labour’s Kiran Khan, by 741 votes to 396.
While Mrs Burgess’ victory makes no real difference to the Tory-dominated county council, the borough balances on something of a political knife-edge, with Labour holding the fort by 19 seats to 17.
The turnout for the county by-election was 25 per cent, with only five ballot papers being rejected, while the borough turnout was 29 per cent, with 11 papers rejected.
Ms Mwagale was approached for comment.
TILGATE (Crawley Borough Council)
Derek HARDMAN (Green) 70
Arshad KHAN (Justice) 5
Kiran KHAN (Labour) 396
Maureen MWAGALE (Conservative) 741 ELECTED
Angharad OLD (Lib Dem) 82
Turnout: 29 per cent
THREE BRIDGES (West Sussex County Council)
David ANDERSON (Lib Dem) 257
Brenda BURGESS (Conservative) 1,102 ELECTED
Danielle KAIL (Green) 136
Arshad KHAN (Justice) 9
Angela MALIK (Labour) 628
Turnout: 25 per cent