THE new Cotswold District Councillor for the Fairford North Ward has vowed to continue re-engaging the public in local politics after an impressive election win.

Cllr Andrew Doherty won the seat yesterday in a landslide by-election victory for the Liberal Democrats.

The seat had been a Tory stronghold for 14 years.

Cllr Doherty gained 610 votes while his challengers Dominic Morris (Conservative) and Xanthe Frances Henrietta Messenger (Green Party) gained 270 and 15 votes respectively.

"For me, the greatest contribution the Liberal Democrat campaign has made, is to put some excitement back into local politics in Fairford,” said Cllr Doherty, in a speech following the count late last night.

"Voters everywhere deserve that opportunity.

"And I hope we can bring it to them in local elections across the district, the county and the country."

He thanked his fellow candidates, as well as his team, family and voters, with the likes of Lib Dem councillors Paul Hodgkinson, Mark and Joe Harris and Jenny Forde in jubilant mood, following the result.

Cllr Doherty also said: "Six weeks ago I wouldn’t have expected that this would be how I’d be spending my Thursday, February 9, and it happened because I’ve a strong conviction for and passionate belief in local politics.”

"For me, councils and councillors make vital decisions about services that matter to people every single day.”

"But the local politics you see doesn’t always reflect this. Swathes of our district and the county hardly have any competitive elections.

“Not enough voters are challenged by serious campaigns.

“They don’t get engaged by those campaigns, they don’t have the chance to challenge and question their candidates, and they don’t have the chance to influence and be influenced by those candidates.”

Cllr Hodgkinson told the Standard: "This was a storming win in Fairford last night.

"A remarkable swing of 30 per cent to gain a seat which has been held by the Conservatives for 14 years. 

"Andy Doherty and the team worked incredibly hard to win hearts and minds in Fairford.

"People told us they didn't like the way developments have been foisted on the town.

"Now they have spoken loud and clear.

"This sets us up well on the back of the huge gain Lib Dem in Stow last autumn."

He went on to say: "The county council elections in May give us a major opportunity to change the political make up of Gloucestershire after 12 years of Conservative rule which have seen our roads and pavements deteriorate into a dreadful state.

"Enough is enough."

Lib Dem parliamentary candidate Andrew Gant wrote on Twitter: "Tories really worked hard here, but they have nothing to say. Lib Dems have a positive message, great candidates, great team."