Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Ockendon: A tale of two heroes


Jill Broad (United Kingdom Independence Party): 223
Barry Johnson (Conservative): 1009
Aaron Kiely (Labour): 1096
Karne Thomas McGinn (British National Party): 231
Jill Broad (United Kingdom Independence Party): 223
David Shirley (Liberal Democrat): 73

Majority: 87

Turnout: 38%

Aaron Kiely ran a great campaign and thoroughly deserved to win. He is such an enthusiast and his youthful joie de vivre shone through to the voters. This young man is going places. It is also great to hear the Tories call him “loony left” (Thanks Mr Gadsby) We haven’t heard that in ages!

It would be good to see him on a committee such as Public Protection.

We all know the lines from the Kipling poem regarding “If you can meet with victory and defeat and treat those two imposters just the same” Very few of us can do it. Barry Johnson can. Only twelve months ago, he was one of the rising stars of the group and had transformed his portfolio. Now he has lost his ward but he showed great grace and we are pleased we caught it on camera because many many people could learn a great deal.

Barry was a great ambassador for the ward and for the borough and we hope he will be back.

His colleague, Lyn Carr said: “I am so sorry to see Barry lose. He was a great councillor. I have learned so much but I am sure he will be back.”

Having said that, we think they could have retained this seat. We have no doubt that the three Ockendon councillors work hard for the ward but again, like many wards their campaigning isn’t good enough.

They will counter that Labour put an enormous amount of resources into this ward and only won by 87 votes and may not be able to repeat that. Fair point.

What a great day for democracy as two candidates poll over a 1,000 votes.


  1. Perhaps it was fate for tellin those porkies about the not so fake minutes?

    And the Tories must be very happy to swap Barry for Maureen Pearce. What a catch!

  2. This seat was always going to be a very close run but looking at the make up of the ward you wonder why it was ever seen as a safe seat for the Thurrock Tories. Barry Johnson won this seat with under a 20 votes majority so you would have exected that it was never going to be an easy ride for them.

    Editors comment that Labour poured enourmous resources into canvassing Ockendon can be turned on its head when you see that that Thurrock Tories did exactly the same to hold onto the Aveley seat and stop local man Colin Churchman.

    When Thurrock Tories do their post election reflection and look to see what they lost in Barry Johnson and gained in Maureen Pearce they will be kicking themselves all over Thurrock. Barry was a key peg in the Tory party and his skills around finance cannot be replaced with who is left. It certainly wont be the leader Garry Hague picking up the finance mantle.

    Well done Aaron, you have got what you deserve. All Ockendon residents will be well served with you as a councillor.

  3. The Labour win was entirely down, in my opinion, to Mr Kiely being very visible in the run up to the vote and Mr Johnson being pretty anonymous and invisible. Labour put a lot of effort into the seat and, going by appearances anyway, the Tories took it for granted. Mr Kiely got the reward his work deserved so well done to him.


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