Labour is celebrating after holding off a by-election assault by the Liberal Democrats’ parliamentary candidate.

Three seats on Watford Borough Council were contested yesterday following the resignations of three councillors last month.

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Labour’s Richard Smith held on to the Leggatts ward with 934 votes, beating general election candidate Ian Stotesbury, who also contested the by-election and the North Watford county council division, to a close second with 762 votes.


Lib Dems Peter Jeffree and Maggie Parker held the Park and Oxhey wards for their parties.

Overall turnout was 32 per cent – which MP Richard Harrington believes is down to the forthcoming general election in five weeks.

Watford Borough Council has 36 councillors and an Elected Mayor, each of whom is elected for a four year term to represent the people of Watford.

The Lib Dems now have 25 councillors to Labour’s 11.

Councillors Anne Rindl and Joanna Maestas, both Liberal Democrat, relinquished their roles as representatives of Park and Oxhey wards respectively just a week after Labour’s Leggatts ward councillor Anne Joynes, who was also a county councillor, announced she was stepping down from her role.

Ian Stotesbury also also lost out on a county council seat in today's election. He is the party's parliamentary candidate for the general election.

The by-elections tied in with the Hertfordshire County Council elections, which were also held yesterday.