Election results: Who won the Harborough seats at the county council election
Overall, it has been a good day for the Conservatives
Harborough council leader Phil King declared this afternoon after being elected a county councillor for the first time – I’ll be fighting tooth and nail for the people of our district.
The jubilant district council chief said he was proud and humbled after winning his battle to finally land a Leicestershire County Council seat – at the fifth attempt.
Cllr King said he is now looking forward to representing Market Harborough West & Foxton after decisively beating Liberal Democrat rival Peter James into second place.
And the Teesside-born local politician spoke to the Harborough Mail about his hopes and plans for Market Harborough this afternoon as the county council stayed overwhelmingly Conservative blue.
“I’ve finally been elected as a county councillor at the fifth time of trying – and I couldn’t be happier.
“I’m tired because it’s been a long night,” said Cllr King, speaking from the count at Harborough Leisure Centre on Northampton Road, Market Harborough.
“But I am honoured and delighted to have been elected by the people of Market Harborough West & Foxton.
“It’s a great honour that the voters have placed their trust in me – and a huge responsibility.
“But as a district councillor for 14 years and our council leader for the last two years I’ve shown time and again that I do what I say I’m going to do,” insisted Cllr King, who won 1,762 votes, some 45.5 per cent of the total vote.
His biggest rival Peter James, a Harborough councillor for Little Bowden ward, trailed behind with 938 votes.
“I can promise my constituents one thing above all others – I will be going in to bat for Market Harborough at the county council from day one.
“I will be working flat out to make sure that our town and our area get the support they deserve,” vowed Cllr King, who lives in Kibworth Beauchamp.
Asked what he will be taking to the true blue county authority, he replied: “I’ll be taking a strategic vision for the whole area as the very experienced leader of Harborough District Council.
“I’ll be taking my track record for delivering and for getting things done on the ground.
“We have to fight tooth and nail to ensure that Market Harborough gets its fair share of support from the county.
“It sometimes seems as if we are a long way away from Glenfield in Market Harborough,” said Cllr King.
“I might now be sitting on Leicestershire County Council – but I’ll be standing up to be counted.
“I can assure our taxpayers and residents that I’ll be fighting your corner.
“We have to deliver on the promises made in our party manifesto.
“I want a greener cleaner Harborough over the next few years.
“I want to cut fly-tipping, reduce littering, slash the amount of pollution in the air.
“We also want more jobs, more support for local businesses,” said Cllr King.
“The county is investing in Airfield Business Park in Market Harborough – and that’s clearly the way to go.
“It’s critical for Harborough that as the district council leader I will now have a seat on the county council.
“I’ll be helping to shape and influence the future of local government right across the board here.
“There will be a lot of competing demands and like us at the district the county hasn’t got a bottomless pit of money either.
“That’s especially going to be the case as we’ve just endured a very difficult 14-month Covid pandemic.
“So it’s vital that I’ll be there alongside my Conservative colleagues from across Harborough going into battle for our district.”
Cllr King also saluted stunning Conservative council gains across the country as well as crushing Labour to win the Hartlepool parliamentary seat for the first time in almost 60 years.
“We have fought a positive campaign nationally and that’s why so many people are getting behind us,” said Cllr King.
He spoke as fellow Harborough councillor Barry Champion grabbed the Market Harborough East seat on the county from defending Liberal Democrat Sarah Hill.
Cllr Champion got 1,887 votes – 42.1 per cent of the total – to knock Cllr Hill into second as she landed 1,712 votes.
Cllr Kevin Feltham easily held on to the Gartree constituency for the Conservatives with 62 per cent of the vote while fellow Tory Cllr Blake Pain romped home in Bruntingthorpe with almost 60 per cent.
Cllr Neil Bannister successfully defended Broughton Astley for the ruling party after securing nearly 53 per cent of the votes cast.Conservative Cllr Rosita Page has defended her Lutterworth seat.
She claimed 2,170 votes, almost 56 per cent of the total, more than double the 941 votes pocketed by Labour runner-up Paul Beadle.
Cllr Simon Galton will serve another term as Liberal Democrat county councillor for Launde after he staved off a serious threat from Conservative rival Michael Rickman.
Cllr Galton bagged 1.986 votes, some 45.1 per cent of the total cast, as he held off Mr Rickman, the brother of late Hollywood star Alan Rickman, as he polled 1,796 votes.
Both men also serve on Harborough District Council.
Cllr Galton represents the council’s Thurnby and Houghton ward while Cllr Rickman is district councillor for the Nevill ward.
By just after 3pm this afternoon the Conservatives had piled up 39 seats on the county council while the Liberal Democrats had taken seven and Labour just four.