The final result in the England council elections saw a police and crime commissioner’s (PCC) wife narrowly lose her seat, while he failed to get elected in the same North East council ward.
Cleveland PCC Steve Turner and his wife Andrea had both put themselves forward as Conservative candidates for Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council during last week’s local elections.
During the contest in the Longbeck ward, Mr Turner failed to make it into the top two elected positions, coming in sixth place.
His wife, formerly the Tory group leader on the council, narrowly lost out following a third recount on Tuesday.
Mrs Turner was pipped to second by four votes, losing out to Independent candidate Vera Rider.
Labour’s Luke Myer was comfortably elected in first place in the ward.
Emily Thornberry, Labour’s shadow attorney general, tweeted her congratulations to Mr Myer, saying: “He led the fiery Labour campaign in Longbeck, unafraid of intimidation, and ultimately beating sitting councillor Andrea Turner and her husband, the police and crime commissioner.”
Mr and Mrs Turner, issuing election pledges on social media before Thursday’s vote, said they thought “we can achieve so much more together”, building on her two years as a councillor for the local authority.
In a message posted on a Facebook account used for campaigning, Mr Turner told followers that Cleveland Police had “achieved so much ahead of target and ahead of time” while he was at the helm, adding that he wanted to “make an even bigger difference to my local area” as a councillor.
But Mr Turner faced criticism on social media and in political attack adverts for putting himself forward for a council seat while already having a paid elected role as PCC.
A leaflet distributed by Labour ahead of Thursday’s council election cited Lee Holmes, a former chairman of South Tees Conservative Association, who questioned whether Mr Turner “really needs an extra £10,000 a year from hard-pressed taxpayers on top of his £80,000 PCC salary”.
In a joint statement on Facebook responding to the comments, Mr and Mrs Turner said the quotes were the “rantings of a bitter ex-Conservative with an axe to grind”.
Responding to criticism of his decision to stand on his Facebook page, Mr Turner questioned whether “all life outside of the PCC role” should stop.
Mr Turner — who contested the 2015 general election for Ukip — told the Northern Agenda newsletter: “The biggest loser in all this is democracy as this ward election has been the most vitriolic I’ve ever known.”
Following the recount, the council remains under no overall control.
Labour gained eight seats to become the biggest party and the Conservatives gained six, with independents losing 11 seats and the Liberal Democrats losing three.