Tories denied majority on council by one seat after drawing straws as a tiebreaker

The Lib Dems and Conservatives settled the result in the last key ward by drawing straws

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Indy Politics

The Conservatives have been denied control of Northumberland council by just one seat – after losing a drawing of straws to decide a tied result in the last ward.

The Tories won 33 of the 67 seats on the local authority, with 34 seats won by other parties.

In the South Blyth ward Liberal Democrat candidate Lesley Rickerby and Conservative Daniel Carr decided to draw straws for the result after three recounts of ballot papers all produced a score-draw.

Ms Rickerby drew the longer straw and became councillor for the council’s South Blyth ward. She was seen to jump for joy and exclaim: “We did it!”

Ballot papers are usually re-counted several times in the event of a tied election, but if a deadlock is still not broken the result is decided by chance.

This commonly takes the form of a coin toss, a drawing of straws, or names being pulled from a hat.

Mr Carr and Ms Rickerby both won 356 votes each. Labour’s Olga Potts came third with 305 votes and Ukip’s Peter Potts came fourth with 216.​

Overall on the council Labour won 24 seats, the Conservatives 33, and independents 5. The Lib Dems won 3 and other candidates won 2.