High Court confirms outcome of Banbury Ruscote seat, subject of an 'administrative error'

The High Court has corrected an admin error that saw a Conservative councillor elected to the Ruscote, Banbury division of the Oxfordshire County Council in the May local elections.

By Roseanne Edwards
Wednesday, 11th August 2021, 1:46 pm
Updated Thursday, 12th August 2021, 11:05 am
Cllr Mark Cherry, county councillor for the Ruscote, Banbury division
Cllr Mark Cherry, county councillor for the Ruscote, Banbury division

In a statement, John Christie, chairman of Banbury and Bicester Labour said: "The High Court on Wednesday, August 11, 2021 has declared that Mark Cherry was duly elected as the Labour County Councillor for Banbury Ruscote Division in the May County Council election.

"This followed an election petition brought by Mark to the Court for a recount of the election result of May 9, 2021. The recount confirmed that an administrative error by the Returning Officer had caused the votes cast for Mark to be wrongly recorded as being those cast for the Conservative candidate. This resulted in the Conservative candidate being erroneously declared to be elected"

The Court ordered all costs of the case to be borne by the Returning Officer

Cllr Cherry said: "I am personally very relieved that as a result of my petition, the High Court has confirmed that I am the duly elected county councillor for Banbury Ruscote Division.

"It has been a difficult time for me since the result of the count on May 9th 2021.

"I wish to thank the Labour Party, their legal team led by specialist solicitor Gerald Shamash and Gavin Millar QC, and fellow Labour councillors for their strong support. I look forward to returning to County Hall and representing my constituents as the member of Oxfordshire County Council for Banbury Ruscote Division as part of the Labour team of county and district councillors.”

A statement from North Oxfordshire Conservative Association said: "North Oxfordshire Conservative Association has been informed of the outcome of the election petition brought by Mark Cherry challenging the election result for the Banbury Ruscote Division of Oxfordshire County Council declared on 9 May 2021.

"A recount of the ballots has confirmed that an administrative error was made at the count causing the votes cast for Mark to be wrongly recorded as those cast for Jayne Strangwood, the Conservative candidate. The High Court has now corrected this result and has today declared Mark Cherry duly elected as the County Councillor for Ruscote Division.

"The period since the election result was declared, and the subsequent legal process, has been particularly stressful for both candidates. We would like to acknowledge all that Jayne has done to represent the residents of Ruscote Division since May despite the difficult circumstances she found herself in which were of no fault of her own.

"Both the Association and Jayne accept the decision taken by the Court today and wish Mark well as he returns to his role as member for the Ruscote Division on Oxfordshire County Council.”