New councillor speaks to Observer
LABOUR has held onto its seat in a Slough by-election after its previous councillor was sacked for missing meetings.
Mohammed Nazir, 54, from Wexham, claimed the Baylis & Ward seat on Thursday night pulling in 1,300 votes - keeping a Labour stronghold in the ward.
Independent candidate Pervez Choudhry, a current Conservative councillor for Central ward, came second with 764 votes.
Allan Deverill, UK Independence Party, received 82 votes and Ivan Dukes, Independent, pulled in 68.
Newly-appointed Cllr Nazir said: "Obviously I'm very happy that Labour kept the seat and it's pleasing that people came out to vote.
"Our aim was to keep the seat for Labour. Now I plan to try to improve the situation in the area and help if there is anything people need in the ward.
"I can make people more aware of any issues we have and generally keep the status quo."
There were five rejected ballot papers and the turnout was 28.54% for the by-election.
Polling stations opened from 7am-10pm on Thursday. The winner was announced at 11.50pm, at St Martin's Place council offices, in Bath Road.
The contest had been dogged with allegations of corrupt electoral behaviour after a complaint that a party worker had watched the counting of postal votes before leaking information about who was ahead.
It resulted in a strongly-worded police letter issued to all four candidates on March 2. It reminded them of the code of conduct for party workers and threatened to investigate if there were any further examples of 'improper conduct'.
The seat became available after Azhar Qureshi, of Court Crescent, Slough, was sacked for non-attendance in January.
He failed in a late bid to postpone the elections after demanding an inquiry into his dismissal.