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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Newcastle elects first Conservative since 1992 as Doc Anand wins in Gosforth

Newcastle has elected a Conservative for the first time since 1992.

Tory candidate Doc Anand defeated the Lib Dems in Gosforth to end his party’s electoral drought in the city.

The former GP was hoisted into the air by jubilant supporters as the result was announced at Northumbria University’s Sport Central in the early hours of Friday morning.

There has not been a single Conservative voice in the Newcastle City Council chamber since Sandra Gilfillan and Nina Hannaford’s terms in Jesmond and Kenton respectively came to an end in 1996.

But Mr Anand has broken that losing streak, winning a majority of 111 in a ward that has long been a stronghold for Newcastle’s Lib Dem opposition.

He has been a prominent and eccentric figure in Gosforth over recent years, campaigning vocally against the controversial bollards that lined its high street from 2020 until last year.

Mr Anand, who this week was criticised for joking that he could use his position as a councillor to overturn a parking fine, has also sought to distance himself from the struggles of the national Conservative Party – telling the Local Democracy Reporting Service last week that he wanted to “show people that what happens in London and Newcastle are completely different things”.

After his victory, he said: “It feels like history. It is all about hard work and pounding the pavements of Gosforth.

“I get out there and talk to people, listen to them, and listen to my good friend Scott [Jewitt, his campaign manager].”

He added: “As a councillor I will continue doing what I have already been doing and work for the good of Gosforth. Dealing with potholes, graffiti.

“I just want to do the best for Gosforth and the best is yet to come.”

Newcastle Lib Dem leader Colin Ferguson, who is a councillor in Gosforth, said he felt the Tory vote had “barely shifted” but that his party’s vote had dipped due to different voting patterns on a bumper polling day that also included ballots for the North East mayor and Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner.

He added: “It is not a case of him [Mr Anand] breaking through to support he did not previously have. I think what we are seeing is the mayoral election having some compounding effect.

“There are clearly voters who vote for us on a local level because they like what we have to say and have decided on this occasion, because they have three votes in three separate elections, to not split how they are voting.

“I don’t see it as particularly reflective of what would happen in a normal election cycle and certainly not of what will happen in 2026. But, of course, we will go away and learn from this.”

The full result in Gosforth was:

Doc Anand (CON) – 1,399

Michael Bell (LAB) – 952

Frances Hinton (G) – 350

Brian Moore (North East Party) – 160

Tahir Siddique (LD) – 1,288

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