PLAID Cymru has held the Smithfield ward seat on Wrexham Council after a closely fought by-election.
The seat was vacated by the party’s Paul Williams who stood down for health reasons in January eight months after wrestling the seat back from Labour at last year’s local elections.
Plaid candidate Jon Jolley, a resident of the ward, fought off competition from three independents, a Liberal Democrat and a Labour candidate.
Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service immediately after the count held at the Guildhall on Thursday night, the new councillor said: “It feels great, it’s a good result for us.
“The campaign was good, well looked after and we did as much as we could.
“I’m just looking forward to getting started really. I’ve had the welcome pack and will start going through that tonight and the hard work starts tomorrow.
“There’s lots of ward issues that need sorting so as soon as I get started I’ll be giving it my all.”
While on the campaign trail, there were people who noted the new councillor bore a slight physical resemblance to the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, but he laughed off any comparisons, adding: “I didn’t mind, he’s not a bad person to be compared too!”
Plaid’s victory was by a winning margin of 24 votes in an election in which the turn-out was low, down to 22 per cent.
It was a fall from the 25 per cent turn-out last May with just under 400 people voting on this occasion.
The full results are;
Jon Jolley (Plaid) – 152 votes
Sion Edwards (Labour) – 128 votes
Jayne Johnson (Independent) – 59 votes
Graham Kelly (Lib Dem) – 29 votes
Richard Bennett (Independent) – 19 votes
Toni Prince (Independent) – 11 votes
Smithfield had been somewhat of a swing seat in recent elections, being held by Plaid Cymru for nearly a decade up until 2017 when it was won by Labour.
But five years later Plaid Cymru took the seat back in the 2022 local elections when the party tripled its number of seats on the council.
The by-election victory brings the number of seats the party has on the council back up to nine.
There are 56 seats on Wrexham Council representing 47 wards. The authority is currently led by a coalition of 22 Independent group councillors and nine Conservatives.
The largest opposition group is Labour with 14 councillors, followed by Plaid Cymru with nine.
The other two councillors are both independents, not aligned to any group or political party.