THE Conservatives have stunned Labour by winning the Crewe Central seat in the Cheshire East Council by-election.

Local businessman Roger Morris took the seat, which has always been a Labour stronghold,  polling 335 votes.

Labour’s Kim Jamson received 277.

A delighted Cllr Morris told the Local Democracy Reporting Service today (Friday): “It’s been a long hard journey but we’re absolutely ecstatic because of what we pulled off.

“There’s been a lot of teamwork.”

Cllr Morris is well known in the Crewe Central ward.

Knutsford Guardian: Newly elected Crewe Central councillor Roger MorrisNewly elected Crewe Central councillor Roger Morris (Image: Cheshire East Council)

He handed over his motorcycle showroom on West Street free of charge during the pandemic to be used as an NHS vaccination centre.

When asked why he decided to stand for election, having  never been involved in politics before, Cllr Morris said: “It all started when we did the Covid vaccinations in my showroom and I became friendly with Dr Kieran Mullan MP.

He said when Labour’s Anthony Critchley stood down, Dr Mullan approached him about standing for the Conservatives.

“I jumped at the chance because I thought I might be able to make a difference to the people of this area,” said Cllr Morris.

“I haven’t got a political background but I know how Crewe has been in the past because I’ve been here for 35 years and I run my family business, that’s been here for more than 100 years, so it’s not like we’re new to the area.

“I just wanted to run as a councillor and make a difference in this area and get the place back to how it used to be.

“The roads are terrible, the litter is terrible, crime is a problem in this area, fly-tipping is a problem, there’s so many problems in this area and I thought I will stand and if I do get elected I will try and make a difference to the people in this local area.”

Conservative group leader Janet Clowes said it was a fantastic result for Roger, who ran a ‘really excellent campaign with neighbouring councillor James Pratt’, who achieved a similar win against the odds in Crewe St Barnabas last May.

“The critical thing here is, you’ve got a local businessman whose family have been there for four generations who know the area like the back of their hand, and Roger who loves the area,” said Cllr Clowes.

“He had been out supporting litter picks, reporting potholes, engaging in community work and initiatives for many years beforehand and it was the Covid pandemic when he opened up his showroom as a vaccination centre that really made him realise that he could do more.

“That’s what prompted him to stand for election when the previous incumbent stood down at the end of last year.”

She added: “He's got just one objective and that is to be the very best local councillor that he can be.

“He wants to support the people he’s been talking to over the last two or three months and who come into his shop and chat to him.”

Crewe Central by-election results: Te Ata Browne (Green Party) 12; Kim Jamson (Lab) 277; Roger Morris (Con) 335;  Vicky Pulman (Women’s Equality Party) 22; Brian Silvester (Putting Crewe First, People Before Politics) 128.

Turnout was 16.46 per cent.