Local elections 2022: Independent candidate wins Yorkshire seat after drawing straws with Labour rival

The winner of a North Yorkshire council seat determined by the drawing of straws joked that his Labour rival lost after he chose the straw on the left.

Independent Andy Solloway was declared the winner in the Skipton West and West Craven division of the new North Yorkshire unitary authority on Friday after tying with Labour’s Peter Madeley on 503 votes, even after a recount at Skipton Town Hall.

Mr Solloway told BBC Radio 5Live how he ended up drawing straws with Mr Madeley’s representative, Brian McDaid, after first discussing with the returning officers the possibility of picking playing cards or tossing a coin.

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He said the returning officer had even offered to go out and buy a pack of cards before it was decided that straw-pulling was the fairest method.

A tied local election race was settled by drawing straws in North Yorkshire

“We just felt between us it possibly wouldn’t be a good look to mix elections with potential gambling,” the councillor said.

Presenter Tony Livesey said: “How did you feel, Andy, as that long straw come out?”

Mr Solloway replied: “Quite shocked really. I had the same number of votes but it was decided in that way and that’s seems strange.

“And Brian, being a Labour guy, decided to pick the left one.”

The poll in Skipton West and West Craven was part of the biggest overhaul of local government in North Yorkshire for nearly 50 years.

The new councillors will serve the final year of the existing council but will then become the first councillors to serve on the new unitary authority which will launch on April 1 2023.

After the votes were counted, the Tories secured a four-seat majority to govern the final 11 months of North Yorkshire County Council before it merges with seven district councils to create the new single overarching authority across the 3,100 square miles of England’s largest county.