Sunday, May 21, 2006


Post-election round-up

According to the BBC's headline results, the second-biggest winner in this month's local elections were no-one - 66 councils are now in no overall control, up 6 from before the poll. By and large, this is good news for the Liberal Democrats - despite our only gaining one council overall*, Labour's collapse across the country is likely to mean that we now have representatives on significantly more council executives.

This is a round-up of the councils in No Overall Control for which I have been able to find out details:

(* although, see West Lindsey later)

In the first of many new Lib Dem/Tory coalitions, Burnley has a new executive and a new Lib Dem council leader, Gordon Birtwistle.

(Includes 1 Con defection to Ind)

Calderdale Council has been the source of some controversy since the election, with the Tories preferring to form a coalition with Labour rather than negotiate with the Lib Dems. Former Lib Dem leader Michael Taylor said:
"You might think you have got one over on the Lib Dems but you have given us the best political opportunity we have ever had in Calderdale."
He may well be right: I can't see many traditional Labour supporters being happy about propping up a Tory administration that's on the slide, or for that matter Tory supporters being happy having to rely on the votes of Labour councillors - one Tory councillor has already resigned the whip because of the deal.

Labour was never going to hold on to this one having lost half of its seats, and it looks likely that Keith Moffitt will become leader of a new Lib Dem/Tory coalition. Moffitt initially suggested a three-way power share but was rebuffed by the Tories, so Labour will be excluded from decision-making in Camden for the first time in 35 years.

Cheltenham, sadly, has reverted to Conservative minority control after the People Against Bureaucracy party split 3-2 to back an all-Tory executive.

(Includes 2 Lib defections to Hull Ind)

It had initially looked like Labour would cling on to power in Hull as the two remaining Liberals defected to the Hull Independents group and backed a Labour cabinet - but with the Lib Dems attracting the support of the Tories and an unaligned independent Councillor, the vote at full council was set to tied at 29 apiece.

Bizarrely, former leader Coun. Inglis (who is suspended from the Labour group pending a criminal investigation) then voted against his former colleagues to put the Lib Dems back in to power. You couldn't make it up.

May 4th was a shock result for Islington Lib Dems, but having fortunately retained exactly half of the seats and the Lord Mayorship, they were able to retain control using the mayor's casting vote despite the one Green councillor voting with the Labour group.

Councillor James Kempton will become the new council leader after group leader Steve Hitchins lost his seat. Councillor Kempton will have two years before the next council elections in 2008 to convince the electorate that the Lib Dems deserve an outright majority.

Lewisham will continue to be run by Labour despite them losing their majority, as they have retained the elected mayorship.

The Tories were successful in gaining a third seat, but bizarrely axed their group leader shortly afterwards (something that they have in common with Barnet...)

Oxford's new council leader is Liberal Democrat John Goddard: the Lib Dems have 7 of the 10 available executive positions, including our very own Lib Dem blogger Stephen Tall.

Southwark Lib Dems and Conservatives have formalised their current electoral pact into a power-sharing coalition.

St. Helens will now be run by a Lib Dem/Tory coalition with a majority of one, with Lib Dem Brian Spencer as the new council leader. This is the first time in 70 years that a party other than Labour has run St. Helens.

(Includes LD by-election gain from Ind)

Saving the best till last: West Lindsey Council in Lincolnshire was deadlocked after the Lib Dems gained two seats earlier this month, but a by-election victory last week in a seat previously held by an independent put them over the top.

Still unknown are the fates of these newly-deadlocked councils:

Lab losses:
Barrow-In-Furness, Brent (where we became the largest party from third place), Bury, Derby, Hounslow, Merton, Newcastle-Under-Lyme, Plymouth, Redditch, Stoke-On-Trent, Warrington.

Con losses
Gosport, Harrogate.

LD losses:
Milton Keynes

plus of course any NOC held councils that have changed leaders - if anyone hears about what's going on in these councils, give me a shout and I will put them in the next round-up!


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