Husband takes town council seat won by wife after poll error

A husband has taken a town council seat from his wife – despite her receiving more votes in last week's poll.

Peter Groucott was one of 12 to be returned to Silloth-on-Solway town council in Allerdale, Cumbria, after polling 189 votes.

However, his wife Karen had received 320 votes – 11th among the 21 candidates and 131 more than her husband – but a mistake when declaring the results meant that Mr Groucott was returned as a councillor.

The High Court is the only body which has the authority to overturn an election result – with Mrs Groucott, a teaching assistant, telling the Times it was "a bit of a giggle".


She told the paper: "I was a bit shocked really, but when we thought about it, we thought it was a bit of a giggle. Everybody makes mistakes."

Mr Groucott, an IT consultant, said he hopes to step down from the council on Monday – just over a week since his election – so that his wife can be co-opted on to the council.

He said he received an email from Allerdale Council on Friday evening asking him to get in touch.

"The poor fellow was really quite stressed out. They had made a simple mistake. Apparently, they recorded (the count) correctly but when he got up to announce the result, he got our names wrong," he said.

The case is similar to that of Bob and Hazel Charlesworth – where Mrs Charlesworth became a representative for the Eastwood North and Greasley (Beauvale) ward of Broxtowe Borough Council in May 2011 following a blunder by election officials.

Mr Charlesworth was named as Bob on the voting slips but as Robert on the returning officer's form, meaning his wife was credited with his votes and declared a councillor.

Two months after the erroneous declaration, the High Court rectified the poll results.