Ilminster shock

The undoubted highlight of election day so far has been the election for Ilminster Division. Not least because South Somerset District Council Leader Val Keitch was standing for the LibDems. Elsewhere in the SSDC area, the Libdems have been taking seat after seat even in usually safe Conservative areas. Notably Blackmoor Vale.

Ilminster is a split seat with the town usually voting LibDem and the countryside around tending to be Conservative. previously Linda Vijeh was Conservative County Councillor and Val Keitch Lib Dem District Councillor. Matters are complicated by the fact that Cllr Keitch has had to answer difficult questions about corrupt practises at the council. She even faced a vote of no confidence in February this year. Albeit she won the vote comfortably as it split down party lines.

As the morning progressed, it was obvious that things were tight. The count was concluded and a recount called. The recount only led to a second recount. It rapidly became clear that Sue Osborne, the Conservative candidate had come first. But there was a battle royal going on for second place.

In the end Cllr Keitch survived, taking the second available seat for Ilminster by just 5 votes.

The full result was as follows:

  • 1,494 Sue Osborne (Conservative)
  • 1,397 Val Keitch (LibDem)
  • 1,392 Jo Woodcock (Conservative)
  • 1,384 Ray Buckler (LibDem)
  • 425 Roger Bradley (Green)
  • 342 Karin Cumming (Green)
  • 227 Paul Sellers (Labour)


  • Iam so proud if Sue, she really deserved this as she is a brilliant councillor and Ilminster is lucky to have her.

    • I agree entirely. Sue’s help was also invaluable in the Crewkerne election, especially in the villages. Out canvassing, there was never a bad word said of her.

  • Brian Hamilton

    Puzzled by the headline. Was your shock that Sue Osborne won the seat first or that Val Keitch didn’t win the seat first? Either way, both will be equally excellent councillors for the Ilminster Division in the challenging new Somerset Council.

  • Sue was the only candidate who called on us and listened to our views. Thoroughly deserves her success

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