GORDON OLIVER is the new mayor of Torbay.
The Tory candidate (pictured) beat a challenge from outgoing mayor and Independent Nick Bye to win the election by more than 3,000 votes.
Mr Oliver finished with 12,716 votes and Mr Bye 9,631 after the two made it to the second and final round of counting at the Riviera International Centre in Torquay yesterday.
Lib-Dem candidate Dennis Brewer failed to make it to the final cut and finished in third place with 6,903 votes. There were 1,431 spoiled ballot papers.
Mr Oliver had replaced Mr Bye after the Conservative party refused to back him as their official nomination.
A by-election will now have to called in the Cockington-with-Chelston ward after Mr Oliver was also successfully re-elected as a councillor there. He cannot do both jobs.
Mr Oliver said: "This hasn't sunk in for me yet.
"I was never confident until the last half-hour because, with so many candidates and the effect of national politics, it was not clear whatsoever who was going to be the successful candidate."
He has already made it clear that he wants to see the mayoral system, which he will now drive at the Town Hall, scrapped.
He said: "We've had five years of a mayoral system now and I want to rid it of its imperfections, making it more transparent.
"In terms of the role of elected mayor, I don't like it — so I will try to change it. I will work in the parameters of the job to achieve my aims for Torbay."
Mr Bye spoke of the 'legacy' he had left the Bay after five years in charge.
He said: "There is no disgrace in getting almost 10,000 votes, no disgrace at all."
He told the audience at the RIC: "I got 8,000 votes in the first ballot, some 10,000 votes overall. I can walk out of the town hall with my head held high.
"I wanted to put my record to the people of Torbay. I wanted their judgement. They have made their verdict and I accept that."
Taking a swipe at new mayor Mr Oliver, Mr Bye said: "Anyway, there is a by-election in Cockington with Chelston. How about that?"
He added: "I'm proud of my team and wish Gordon and his team all the best."
He also said to Mr Oliver: "Some of the names you listed for thanks for help have helped me too — so there we go. But we are an inclusive organisation, taking the Bay forward for the next five years.
"I would like to be the first person to congratulate Gordon Oliver in taking Torbay forward. I wish him and his team every success."
He joked to audience: "We found a shopping list in one of the ballot boxes. I'm worried there is now a woman going around Tesco looking for an Oliver, a Brewer and a Bye."
Lib-Dem candidate Mr Brewer said: "The Bay needs change and what's happened today is not going to bring that about."
Mr Oliver said he will take advice on what now happens in his Cockington ward.
He said: "I've increased my majority by 500. I need to take professional advice from the chief executive. I'm one of five mayoral candidates who were also putting themselves forward as council candidates.
"The same happened when Nick Bye became mayor. He had to forego his council seat. If the Stage Two votes had gone Nick's way I would not have won. I was not confident until we'd gone through that process."