Local Elections – J.I.Webster beaten

April 1939

Mexborough and Swinton times, April 7, 1939

Labour Check.
Mr J.I.Webster beaten.
Conisbrough Change.

Fighting his first election as a Labour nominee, Mr J.I.Webster,who previously was four times successful as an Independent, on Saturday lost his seat on Conisborough Urban District Council. Mr Webster, who, with his 12 year service, as a Ward representative and the second longest service amongst present-day members, joined the Labour Party in December 1937.

A successful opponent was Mr M.P.Knowles, of Park Road, Conisborough, who polled more than double the votes obtained by Mr Webster. A piquant feature of the contest was that both candidates have been for 15 or 16 years on the same staff at Morley Place Council School, Conisborough.

For once Conisborough had glorious weather for election day and although polling in the morning was very quiet – only 13 voted at the new polling station at Station Road school before noon – the actual number of votes polled, 720 (in a total electorate of 1345) was the highest recorded in the East Ward for some years.

The Independent candidate had more workers on duty, and more cars at his disposal. The result of the election was announced at about 8:30 PM at the Church Hall by the Retaining Officer, Mr Spencer Baker, as follows:

Maurice Patrick Knowles, retired elementary school teacher (Independent) 488.
John Irad Webster, schoolmaster (Labour) 232

independent gain from Labour.

Mr Webster polled more votes than that recorded by Mrs M.J.Wright, the Labour candidate, in the recent by-election at which Mr Frank Kelsall won a seat for the Independents.

Mr Webster’s success brought the number of Independents on the Council to 3 – all East Ward councillors – and reduced the Labour strength to 11.

Mr J.T.E.Collins, the remaining member, is outside the official Labour Party.

There was quite a large number in the Church Hall for the declaration, among those present the members of the Council.

A vote of thanks to the Returning Officer, and the staff was moved by Mr Knowles, who thanked the electorate for the unparalleled support he had experienced from their hands and he also thanked all those who had worked for him. He assured them that he would work for the good of the whole of the community.

Mr Webster, seconded the vote of thanks, remarked that it was the first time he had had the privilege of being second. They might have seen his obituary notice and some might think that he was dead, but he would tell them that he would not lie down. His opponents had started as an Independent, but he had received a considerable amount of Conservative support.

Mr Webster concluded amid Labour applause: “when you see what our rate is all of you peoplewho havesupported Mr Knowles will regret what you have done today.”

The following candidates were returned unopposed:

North; Thomas John Gregory, miner (Labour)
Denaby; Isaiah Houghton, miner (Labour)
South; Benjamin Roberts, check weighman (Labour)
West; Robert Henry Shephard, miner (Labour)

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