UKIP candidate in Keighley election win

George Firth, who has won a by-election to represent Fell Lane and Westburn award on Keighley Town Council

George Firth, who has won a by-election to represent Fell Lane and Westburn award on Keighley Town Council

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A UK Independence Party candidate has won a by-election seat on Keighley Town Council.

George Firth, 48, won the poll for the vacancy in Fell Lane and Westburn ward by a big margin, picking up 366 votes.

The sole rival candidate, Mohammed Ansar Ali, 35, gained 104 votes.

The turnout in last Thursday’s by-election was just 14.6 per cent.

The poll was held to fill a seat left vacant by the death of town councillor Brian Hudson in January.

Mr Firth, of Whin Knoll Avenue, said: “I’m humbled by all the votes cast for me – I didn’t expect that amount of support.

“I’d like to offer my condolences to the family of Councillor Hudson. He did a lot of work for the area and I hope to be able to step into his shoes.”

Commenting after the result, Mr Ali, an independent candidate from Victoria Road, said: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the residents who came out to vote.”

Mr Firth spent 16 years driving coaches across Europe. He has lived in Keighley since 2006, though added his family links to the town go back much further.

“My background is transport, industry and tourism, but I have a good knowledge of housing matters as well,” he said. “I know there are certain things I can’t get done as a town councillor, but I still intend to fight people’s corner.”

He said problems and issues relevant to Fell Lane and Westburn ward included dog fouling and speeding traffic in Oakworth Road.

He added the town as a whole urgently needs some good-sized hotels to attract investors and visitors.

“Keighley has a multitude of tourist attractions right on its doorstep, and it has a wealth of diversity,” he said.

“The different cultures in the town do mingle together – you’ll always get extremists on each side – but the vast majority of people are happy to integrate with each other.”

Mr Firth has also been chosen as a UKIP candidate in the Bradford Council district elections. He will stand for the party in Keighley Central ward on May 22.

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