TWO new Labour Councillors vowed to carry on the community work of their predecessors last night (Thursday, March 12) after sweeping to victory in by-elections called following the deaths of council stalwarts Mike Doyle and Ken Pinder over Christmas.

Andy Bowden and Barrie Grunewald were elected to the wards of Parr and Rainhill with majorities of 340 and 503 respectively.

Councillor Bowden, a former St Helens Council Executive Member for Urban Regeneration, who has also sat on the Adult Social Care and Health and Education Committee, was elected as Parr councillor with 851 votes.

Barrie Grunewald, a former regional director of the Labour Party, polled 1562 votes and will also take Mike Doyle’s place on Rainhill Parish Council.

Cllr Bowden, aged 44, said: “I’m proud to have been elected by the residents of Parr, I’m only sorry it’s in such circumstances.

"I made clear during the election that I was giving a commitment to the people of Parr.

“Firstly to carry on Ken’s work and to work closely with current councillors Terry and Keith and to continue to improve the area. To tackle the problems residents in the area face.

“Out on the street I got a real feeling what concerns people in Parr. I have seen all the good work residents are doing such as Re:newparr and what the tenants and residents associations are doing to improve their area. I want to help them deliver a better community and build on what’s already been done.

“This is an indication people are beginning to realise that the Lib Dem Tory alliance is failing to deliver for the local communities and it’s only Labour councillors that are looking after the interests of the local community and can help to deliver.”

Cllr Grunewald, meanwhile, blasted the Lib Dems over what he called a “scurrilous and distorted campaign”, adding: “It was a hard fought campaign. But there’s mixed emotions.

“Clearly Mike was a very good friend and none of us would want to be here in these circumstances, but nonetheless I think he would be proud of the result tonight.”

He said he would bring a “wealth of experience to the role”, adding: “I set out a positive campaign on the issues in Rainhill. I believe in following Mike’s footsteps of giving strong representation, putting residents first.

“Both results tonight were fantastic, given how hard they fought and this is very much the fight back for May next year.”

“This result is testament to the amount of work that Mike Doyle did in Rainhill, despite a scurrilous and distorted campaign by the Lib Dems over the last few days. The public of Rainhill saw through the lies of the Lib Dems and their negative tactics.”

Labour leader Marie Rimmer was equally as scathing. She said: “The Labour Party sticks up for the people of Parr and Rainhill and the people have recognised that.

"The Rainhill campaign has been despicable over the last few days but the people of Parr and Rainhill are far too intelligent to be taken in by those tactics.

“I know I have two excellent councillors and they will make a significant contribution within this council and they will represent and speak up for their communities.”

The result means Labour holds the largest share of seats on the council with 23 seats, however, with no party having a ruling majority Liberal Democrats (19 seats) and Conservatives (six) continue to share power.

Results - Rainhill ward by-election , March 12. 2009

  • Barrie Grunewald (Labour) 1562
  • Denise Aspinall (Liberal Democrat) 1059
  • Stephen Bligh (Conservative) 512
  • Eric Swindells (BNP) 215
  • David Rothwell (Green) 80
  • Turn out: 38.15per cent

Results - Parr ward by-election, March 12, 2009

  • Andy Bowden (Labour) 851
  • Barry Dodd (Lib Dem) 511
  • Paul Telford (BNP) 183
  • Mark Arnold (Independent) 98
  • Madeleine Wilcok (Conservative) 55
  • Andrea Pennington (Green) 27
  • Turn out: 20.14