Labour keeps tight grip as Conservatives trounced

Labour councillors and members celebrate
Leader Hans Mundry (C) celebrates with Warrington North MP Charlotte Nichols and other Labour party councillors and members [BBC]

Labour has retained control of Warrington Borough Council, with the Liberal Democrats overtaking the Conservatives to become the official opposition.

Labour comfortably kept control of the council, which it has run since 2011.

The Conservative vote collapsed, with the party losing all but one of its councillors.

Labour leader Hans Mundry said he was "proud" of the group's large majority.

The final result was 42 Labour councillors elected, 12 Liberal Democrats, three independents and one Conservative.

A number of councillors - around a quarter - decided not to stand for re-election, including the former Labour leader Russ Bowden, and long-standing Liberal Democrat Bob Barr.

In Burtonwood and Winwick independent candidate Stuart Mann won one a seat from Labour.

Labour took a seat in Penketh and Cuerdley from one of the three independent councillors, and won a seat from the Conservatives in Birchwood.

The Liberal Democrats won a seat from the Conservatives in Lymm South.

The Conservatives lost three seats to the Liberal Democrats in Appleton and three to Labour in Culcheth, Glazebury and Croft.

The one seat the Conservatives kept from the 10 they went into the election with is in Rixton and Woolston.

Councillor Mundry said he believed it was Labour’s biggest ever win on Warrington Borough Council.

“I’m pleased to have been the leader that led us into this fantastic, historical victory for Warrington and we’re looking forward to serving the people of Warrington,” he said.

“The national climate does have an impact on local elections but I think as a Labour administration we’ve been doing the right things at the right time for the people of Warrington.”

Bob Barr
Liberal Democrat group leader Bob Barr stepped down after 18 years on the council [BBC]

Bob Barr, the former leader of the Liberal Democrat group, who stood down at this election, said it was an “excellent result” for his party.

“We wanted to become the official opposition again and go from eight seats to 12 and we’ve done exactly that,” he said.

“I think this has been a real vindication. The Conservatives have all but been wiped out and they’d gone for a particularly aggressive form of opposition, they’d criticised us for not opposing Labour enough.”

Nigel Balding
Nigel Balding was the Conservative group leader on the council [BBC]

Nigel Balding, previously the leader of the Conservative group, said the result was “disappointing” and said he felt low turnout was a factor.

“I think the electorate have given us a message today,” he said.

“Going forwards, I’m sure the Conservative voice will continue and we’ve still got one councillor and we’ll continue to do our best."

Counting in Warrington
Counting took place in Birchwood [BBC]

The town’s two MPs - Conservative Andy Carter and Labour’s Charlotte Nichols - were both at the count at Birchwood Community Hub.

Andy Carter said the result was “naturally disappointing”.

“If you compared to 2021, we were looking in many of the wards that the Conservatives secured at 50% turnout and it’s down mid-30s now and I think there’s a message there that our voters have stayed at home,” he said.

Charlotte Nichols said she felt the results showed “a real move towards the Labour party right across town”.

“I think it’s a real sign of the trust that people in our community have put in us,” she said.

“There is a prevailing mood in the country that the Conservatives are squatting in Downing Street.

“There’s a lot of discontent with the way local services are being funded but I think actually, when you speak to each of the individual candidates in the individual wards, it has been local issues they've campaigned on and won on.”

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