Conservative candidate takes Cliffsend and Pegwell seat in by-election

Marc Rhattigan has been elected to the Cliffsend and Pegwell ward at Thanet council

A by-election for the Cliffsend and Pegwell ward at Thanet council has been won by Conservative Marc Rhattigan.

The seat became vacant in December when David Stevens resigned over claims of bullying.

Mr Stevens was elected in last May’s poll as the Conservative member for the ward. The other seat for the ward is held by fellow Conservative Cllr Brenda Rogers.

Mr Stevens handed in his resignation to Thanet council on December 20, prompting the by-election.

The results were published yesterday (February 14) and show Cllr Rhattigan took 516 votes, equalling 51%.

Green Party candidate Charlotte Barton took 290 votes (29%), Labour’s David Green polled 109 votes (11%) and Independent Graeme Birchall took 101 votes (10%).

Cllr Rhattigan stood in last May’s district election for St Peter’s ward but was unsuccessful, with Green Party’s Trevor Roper taking the seat.

The father-of-four, who lives in Cliftonville, # owns and manages businesses including a group of children’s nursery’s across Thanet.

He previously said: “I feel the younger generation are under-represented in local government and I want to change this so that every generation has a voice within TDC.”

A by-election has also taken place for Westgate Town Council. Independent Peter Green has taken the seat with 57% of the poll. Labour’s Penny Anne Wells took 43% of the votes.

A further by-election is due to be arranged for the district council seat representing Newington following the sudden resignation on Labour’s Karen Constantine.


  1. It beggars belief that after all the damage the tories have done both nationally and locally, people *still* vote for a tory candidate. Remember (too late) that the local tories were instrumental in the rejection of the Local Plan, resulting in 1000s houses being built on greenfield sites around the villages.

      • I didn’t say vote Labour. I was just astonished, given their track record both nationally and locally, that anyone would vote Tory.

    • Given the countries population growth over the last 16 years , houses have to be built somewhere, its an inevitable consequence of inward migration, if the houses are in the wrong place they won’t sell, but we all know they will, so its satisfying a demand.

  2. It seems that there are a fixed number of “always Tory” or “always Labour” voters who are not dissuaded by particular events. In low turn-out elections (such as this one) only the most dedicated go out to vote.
    So, in many ways, it doesn’t matter what disasters have befallen areas due to, say, Conservative policies, the dedicated party supporters will always turn out.

    So, there might be a Tory policy to turn Manston into a cargo airport with all the noise and pollution over Pegwell and Cliffsend, as well as a policy to build more houses and a new Train station nearby leading to years of noise and traffic-jammed roads, but a proportion will always just blame the Labour Party, or the EU, or “the immigrants” and carry on voting Tory. And even as their lives deteriorate and their mood worsens, they become even MORE determined to vote Tory because the Tories are the Party of punishment and your average Tory voter loves nothing more than punishing the undeserving who they look down on. Nothing improves (in fact the Tory vote relies on frustrated, pessimistic people) but it makes them feel better.

    • Aww. Bless you. Cry a little more.

      At least sense prevails in this by-election and the residents voted a candidate that would actually do good the for the community, unlike Labour and certain councillors and members on this site that believe Labour is the bee’s knees, truth be told, they was wiped out at the GE and rightly so.

      That’s democracy.

      Suck it up buttercup.

    • Keefogs is right again.

      The Tories care nothing about the great majority of the British population. They’re only interested in buttering up the people who can give them lots and lots of money.

      • Wrong, Marva.
        Record numbers in employment, and an economy which is doing better than the rest of Europe.
        You presumably want to return to the policies of the 1970s, strikes, high employment and rocketing inflation.

        • You’re wrong, Sandra.
          Record food bank usage year on year. Record numbers of zero hours contracts.
          Record number of homeless.
          GDP stagnant.
          Meanwhile the fantastically rich have got fantastically richer.
          (PS under Thatcher (she who took school milk away from kiddies) inflation was running at 15%)

    • I blame Labour’s policies of ‘real books’, no phonics, no times tables etc.for a generation of illiterate & innumerate university graduates.

    • Yes you are, Sandra.
      For the vast majority of people in the UK, life has got worse since the tories came into power.
      Education cut backs.
      Police cut by 22,000.
      NHS privatisation.
      Armed forces cut back
      Welfare cut back.
      Pension age increased.
      Railway franchises shambolic.
      Rate support grant to local councils cut to the bone.


      Mansion tax on the mega rich shelved.

      • Record numbers in work. Economy growing..
        I’ve got news for you..the NHS is not privatised. Free at the point of use.
        Not sure how you think armed forces cut back affects ordinary people.
        Think what you like but we had an election and Corbyn was rejected.

        • The NHS may be “free” at the point of delivery, but the service providers are increasingly private enterprises. Such ad Virgin Health Care, which pays no tax in the UK. So, a fair chunk of our NI and tax payments that should be paying for healthcare actually go to fill the coffers of off-shore investors.
          As for the armed forces cut backs: just wait till Johnny Foreigner Fishermen start invading our waters, and we’ve got no Navy to send him packing.
          Tried to find an NHS dentist in Thanet?
          Tried to get a Dr’s appointment this side of Easter?
          I do hope that neither you nor any of your family suffer a stroke.
          Thank the Tories.
          BTW I didn’t say vote Labour. I was just bemused ad to why “ordinary” people voted Tory.

          • I have had no problems getting a doctor’s appointment, in fact had about six so far this year and also have an NHS dentist.
            I’m sure we won’t be invaded by the French so don’t keep yourself awake by worrying about that.

  3. I blame the blamers for blaming anyone and everyone for not realising how perspicacious and sagacious are their utterings.
    Please look around you and consider how successful anyone has been in Thanet.
    The educational system is poor and flawed with only 20% getting a high grade selective education.This means that inequalities remain entrenched and set in concrete.Further education is under valued and lacking investment; but what cripples achievement most of all is the blame culture that says that it is the system,other people and not me who are at fault.
    To realise your potential it requires some effort on your part and looking at the stubborn level of NEET’s (Not in Education,Employment or Training) in Thanet,effort and some self belief is sometimes lacking.

  4. Should take national politics out of local issues. How do the devisive policies of Johnson and Cummins have any relevance to our littered streets, lack of public toilets and record child poverty.

  5. It would have been nice if the elected candidate actually lived in the Cliffsend & Pegwell area rather than over the other side of the Island in Cliftonville.

  6. Surely it should be a case of voting for the individual candidate most likely to do the best job for the constituents – rather than religiously voting for one particular party ?

    Unfortunately it seems to be the case in Thanet that if you put a blue rosette or a red rosette on a chimpanzee, those on both sides of the divide wearing political blinkers would still vote for it !

    In the meantime, the political back-biting and sniping continues whilst most of the issues facing the area go unresolved.

    • I’ve always voted for people because of their party, because I think the policies of the party will generally be those of the candidate. But that doesn’t mean always voting for the same party.

  7. Lots of people moaning that the winning candidate doesn’t live in the ward he now represents. But that’s democracy. People are entitled to vote for the person they want to represent them, and they voted for this guy. It’s high time those who lose elections took a long hard look at themselves. Instead of attacking the person who won they ought to be asking why the voters didn’t choose them instead. If they bothered listening to the voters they might do better next time.

  8. If there’s a choice between someone representing an almost dictatorial regime with policies so draconian that thousands of disabled people are forced out of benefit and 100,000 people are forced to use food banks whilst at the same time the rich get richer; or someone representing a political party that cares about the well being and welfare of people, I know which I’d vote for.

  9. Sandra when will you understand that record employment is meaningless when many of the jobs are zero hours contracts and/or offer no protection/holidays/maternity and sick leave. I don’t call those jobs I call them slave labour

      • I’ve just been looking at an interesting document about levels of employment in EU countries in 2018. The UK was slightly above average with 73%, but below several others. I think the highest rate of employment was in Sweden, about 86%. Just google something like “Employment levels in the EU”.

  10. Also Sandra huge parts of the NHS is already privatised and has been for many years – ask the people working in the NHS.

  11. Goodness. The naivety! The end user (us) is charged. We pay NI all our working lives, and tax all our lives, some of which goes to pay for NHS provision. The fact that we don’t actually hand cash over in the Dr’s surgery or the casualty department doesn’t mean it’s not privatized.
    What do you think Virgin Health Care is, if not a private (non UK tax paying) company?
    I’m so glad you have no problems with your GP and dentist appointments. Please will you share these excellent practitioners details with us so we can all benefit?
    The French may not invade, but who is there to protect our Waters and our fishing grounds? A few blokes in a RIB with outboard motors?

    • The NHS was brought in under Labour. Ever since the Tories have done their best to channel public money from it into private bank accounts.

      • The NHS was actually founded under cross party agreement.
        PFI contracts were brought in under Labour and Tony Blair, increased under Gordon Brown.
        Rebecca Long Bailey actually worked as a legal advisor to these PFI initiatives and they only make up about 7% of total NHS budgets.
        I know you want to blame the Tories for everything but it is fact that the policies you so object to were started under Labour.

        • In the 1945 election Labour got 45.5% of the vote and the Tories got 39.6%. So the Labour party was the party in power. As for Tony Blair introducing PFI, he was as near as dammit to being a Tory.

          • Yes, I know who was in power but the cross party discussions started before the election.
            You may regard Tony Blair as almost a Tory but he won three terms, something which hadn’t happened before, nor is likely to happen again, looking at the current line up.

    • National insurance is to enable you to claim certain benefits, sick pay, maternity pay and pension. It does not pay for the NHS. This is a common misconception.
      The NHS is funded centrally, through taxation in part but not through NI.
      As far as I’m aware,and I’m sure you are too, the Royal Navy is better equipped than with an inflatable with an outboard motor.

      • I was joculating. Sorry you didn’t realise.
        For the past 20 years, defence spending, as a % of GDP, has fallen year on year.
        When the two aircraft carriers are operational, so many other surface craft (frigates and destroyers) will be tied up in air and submarine defensive screens for these ships that all that will be left will be a couple of dinghies.

  12. Ask yourself what people did before the NHS. It’s a misconception to keep talking about the NHS as if it was some divine creation. The NHS was created by bolting together the existing network of clinics, cottage hospitals etc. etc. The main difference was that the NHS didn’t require people to pay for their treatment. Sadly, we’ve now reached the stage where some form of payment is probably inevitable. People who take themselves to A&E for a splinter; people who demand non-essential treatments be provided free; people who drink and drug themselves stupid and end up in hospital every Friday night. They’ve all helped to mess it up for the rest of us. But they aren’t the only ones to blame. The NHS is awash with overpaid bureaucrats. If it was a company it would have gone bust long ago. This would have been agood thing becasue it could then start back up again as the lean, mean operationit should be. We have a choice. Pay (a lot) more money for a bells and whistle service, which many of you will never use, or a basic free service which will save your life without bankrupting the country. If it were up to me I’d vote for the latter. You don’t like what I’m saying? Take a visit to any hospital and count the cars with staff badges in the car-park. That’ll give you some idea of the grotesque ratio of staff:patients. What ratio do you think is acceptable? 1 member of staff per patient? 5 members of staff per patient? 10 members of staff per patient? Now count the number of cars which cost over £30k. There are 30 million working people in the UK. 1.5 million of them work for the NHS. Another 1.5 million work in adult social care. That’s 3 million people already (10% of the workforce). So, you want to spend significantly more money on the NHS? If that money isn’t going to go straight in the pockets of the existing staff it has to go into recruiting more staff. So, how many will you recruit? Another million? We need a proper debate about the NHS but this debate can’t just be about ploughing more money into bloated bureaucracy. The debate has to include making the NHS far, far more efficient and effective.

    • Not forgetting those that have a problem keeping their head out of the fridge, the cost to the nhs of weight related issues is estimated at 16 billion a year, expect people to have a reasonable degree of self control and responsibility and a 50% reduction is surely possible, 8 billion solves the nhs funding crisis and leaves a fair chunk for social care.
      Not counting the improved productivity of those now a bit lighter.
      But not going to happen as there are too many “larger people” who vote and so can’t be upset. Strange old world we live in.

      • What the hell does “Not going to happen as there are too many largere people who vote and so can’t be upset” mean?

        The way that all the deaths caused by pollution from cars won’t be tackled because there are too many people who drive cars who vote and so can’t be upset?

        But what do I know, I’m just an ignorant peasant who uses public transport.

        • It means that its politically much easier to let people eat themselves to poor health and bankrupt the health system and society at large rather than actively criticise the decisions they make, when around 40% of the electorate fall in this category its a demographic no government will aggravate.
          Your vehicle pollution analogy is fallacious, the problem is being done look at the emission requirements of new vehicles compared to old ones, motorists pay this and accept the changes as they will with the transition to electric vehicles, plus the whole scare story of pollution causing deaths is again daft pollution overall is linked to reduced lives that are then conflated into deaths, its like saying being overwieight causes millions of deaths .
          If you wish to label yourself then feel free to do so.

          • As governments should have started sorting pollution and transport out years ago, I don’t think mine is a fallacious analogy. Making petrol more expensive and improving public transport could also have been embarked on years ago.

    • What you’re describing is the US healthcare model. The country where per capita health care is the most expensive in the world, and infant mortality (for example) is the highest in the world. A system where folk who’ve worked hard all their lives to get a nice home have to sell up and live in a trailer park in order to fund chronic health care in later life.
      I don’t want such a healthcare system, thanks.

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