Labour Party candidate for a Banbury seat on Oxfordshire County Council plans official challenge to election result

A Banbury man who served on Oxfordshire County Council for nearly a decade plans to challenge last week's election results with the High Court.

Tuesday, 11th May 2021, 8:16 pm
Updated Tuesday, 11th May 2021, 8:20 pm
People at the official count for the elections held last week, which was held at the Spiceball Leisure Centre in Banbury (Image from Cherwell District Council Twitter account)

Mark Cherry the Labour Party candidate for the Banbury Ruscote Division of Oxfordshire County Council, lost his seat on the council in the election last week after election officials declared the Conservative candidate, Jayne Strangwood, the winner.

Mr Cherry plans to submit an official challenge to the declared winner of the election with the High Court with backing of his political party, the Banbury & Bicester Constituency Labour Party.

The Banbury & Bicester Constituency Labour Party issued a statement about the challenge which said:

"Mark Cherry and his Labour Party advisers consider they have reasonable grounds to believe that an administrative error was made in the declaration of the election result in the division.

"The remedy set out in electoral law for this, is for a candidate to file an election petition which requests the result of the election be corrected.

"Once a returning officer has formally declared the result of an election, that result is legally binding unless it is overturned by a special election court, under the supervision of the High Court.

"As it currently stands, Jayne Strangwood has been elected as the councillor for Banbury Ruscote on Oxfordshire County Council, and will remain so until the matter is resolved by the High Court.

Mark Cherry, who is submitting an official challenge to the declared result of the Banbury Rescote ward area for Oxfordshire County Council (Image from the Banbury Labour Party)

"We understand that the Conservative Party will co-operate in the legal process until its completion. We ask that sensitive consideration is given to all those affected by this situation but particularly the candidates, Mark Cherry and Jayne Strangwood."

Mr Cherry, who had served Banbury residents on the county council since 2013, had sought his third term of office in last week's election.

The North Oxfordshire Conservative Association issued the following statement about the challenge:

“We are aware that the Banbury Labour Party intends to submit a legal challenge to the declaration of the result in the Banbury Ruscote Division of Oxfordshire County Council made at the election count on Sunday 9 May.

Jayne Strangwood who has been elected as the councillor for Banbury Ruscote on Oxfordshire County Council (Image from the North Oxfordshire Conservative Party)

"Once a returning officer has declared a candidate that result is legally binding and can only be overturned by the High Court.

"As it currently stands, Jayne Strangwood has been elected as the councillor for Banbury Ruscote on Oxfordshire County Council and will remain so until the matter is resolved.

"We will cooperate with the legal process as required.”