Dead heat in Berwick West with Ord decided on drawing of ballot papers

A dead heat in Berwick West with Ord was decided on the drawing of ballot papers.

Friday, 7th May 2021, 2:01 pm

Isabel Hunter from the Liberal Democrats was the lucky one, edging out Conservative Gregah Roughead to regain the Northumberland County Council seat she had lost to him in 2017.

“It was unbelievable,” said Isabel. “It feels very strange to win in circumstances like that but it’s great to be back.”

She revealed that the drawing of ballot papers was arranged following a decision not to have a recount.

Isabel Hunter.

"We were all getting tired because it was one of the last wards to be counted,” she explained, “so we went into a quiet room away from the press. Gregah wasn’t there so there was me and Guy Renner-Thompson as his agent who did it.

"The returning officer took a ballot paper of mine and one of Gregah’s, folded it up and put it back in the ballot box. Another staff member shook it and it was held up and the winner was the ballot paper with the ‘X’ on it. And I won!

"I never win anything when it comes to lucky draws and things like that so I was completely shocked. I let out a scream even though we weren’t supposed to, I just couldn’t help it.”

Isabel, who has remained closely involved in local politics as clerk to numerous parish councils, is now looking forward to getting stuck in at County Hall again having represented the ward from 2005 to 2017.

“I’ve been doing quite a lot behind the scenes over the past four years,” she said. “If anyone had an issue and asked me for help I couldn’t turn around and say I wasn’t their county councillor any more so I tried to help out where I could.

“I’m grateful to everyone who voted for me but I realise I’ve now got to knuckle down and work at it to make sure that it’s not so close next time.”

She was a member of Berwick Borough Council from 2003 until its demise in 2009 and was its last leader. She was also mayor from 2013-15.

Result:

*Berwick West with Ord: (LibDem gain)

Robert BRUCE (Ind) 138

Edward FRANK (Green) 67

Gregah Alan ROUGHEAD (Con) 409

2017 result: Gregah Alan Roughhead (Con) - 528 votes (47.96%)

*Ballot draw occurred following a deadheat.

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