British election decided by drawing straws

British Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservatives missed out on gaining control of a local authority on Friday after the final seat was decided by drawing straws.

AFP| Last Updated: May 05, 2017, 18:26 PM IST

London: British Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservatives missed out on gaining control of a local authority on Friday after the final seat was decided by drawing straws.

The bizarre scene determined whether May`s party would gain overall control of Northumberland County Council in northeast England, one of the authorities being contested in the local elections taking place across Britain.

With the Conservatives and the opposition tied on 33 seats each, the battle all came down to the 67th and final seat: who would represent South Blyth.

But after two recounts and 10 hours of counting, Liberal Democrat candidate Lesley Rickerby and her Conservative opponent Daniel Carr could not be separated, having exactly the same number of votes.

The returning officer in charge of the count decided to settle the matter by drawing straws -- with Rickerby emerging the victor.

"It was very traumatic and I certainly would have preferred it to be a majority, but the way our system works, after a couple of recounts, we had no choice," she said.
"The returning officer decides if we would flip a coin or draw straws -- and he went with straws.

"I would have been very disappointed to lose it that way.

"I`m certainly don`t want to do that again in a hurry, it really was the last straw."

In Northumberland, the Conservatives ended up with 33 seats, and the combined opposition 34: Labour, the previous largest party, had 24; the Lib Democrats three, and independents seven.