Narrow council by-election victory for Labour

Labour scraped home in the Horfield by-election, denying the Greens a chance to move closer to an overall majority on the city council.

The poll on July 4, the same day as the general election, took place because the victorious candidate in May’s local elections had been disqualified.

Deborah Vittori, who took one of the two ward seats for Labour in May with a margin of 578 votes over the Greens, had to step down because she is a teacher employed in a Bristol City Council school. Teachers are permitted to become councillors but not at local authorities in which they hold a paid position in a council-run school.

Ms Vittori said in a statement after the decision to bar her that she did not know about this rule.

Labour’s candidate in the by-election, Carole Johnson, won it by coming in just 108 votes ahead of the Green Party candidate Anna Meares.

Ms Johnson was a councillor for Ashley ward from 2016 to 2021. She stood in St George West at the May elections but lost out to the Greens.

The Greens are the largest party on the city council, with 34 seats, but need two more for an overall majority.

Bristol’s Labour group leader Tom Renhard holds the other Horfield seat.

Electorate: 9,729
Votes cast: 5,956
Turnout: 61%


Carole Johnson (Lab) 2,367

Anna Meares (Green) 2,264

Sharon Scott (Con) 778

Roxanne Lock (L Dem) 407

Joan Molins (TUSC) 83