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Future of council up in air after dramatic night at Guildhall

Worcester Editorial 23rd May, 2014 Updated: 19th Oct, 2016

THE CONTROL of Worcester City Council has been left hanging in the balance after an election night which saw the Conservatives become the largest party in the Guildhall and a surge of votes for UKIP.

Matt Lacey’s victory in Claines saw the Conservatives take the seat from the Liberal Democrat’s Mel Allcott giving them a total of 17 seats in the chamber.

Labour managed to hold onto all of the seats it was defending, including Jabba Riaz in the Cathedral ward who defected from the Tories last year.

But Labour could lose control of the council if the Conservatives go into a coalition with the city’s only Green Party councillor, Neil Laurenson, something which will be discussed in the coming days.

Support for Nigel Farage’s UKIP party also grew with its candidates coming runner-up in seven of the 11 seats it contested.

UKIP polled second in Battenhall, Bedwardine, Gorse Hill, Rainbow Hill, St John’s, St Peter’s Parish and Warndon – with Labour the main party to suffer.

Council leader, Coun Adrian Gregson, was unsure whether or not it would remain a Labour-led administration.

“We have held all our seats and I think that we have put together a set of policies together and a responsible budget that’s been reflected in the vote.” he said.

“We have now got to talk with our party members and discuss the situation as will no doubt the other parties.

“The Conservatives are the largest group and they will want to have a view about who is in control of the city council and they have every right to have those discussions as well.”

Worcester’s Conservative leader, Coun Simon Geraghty, confirmed he would attempt to have a Conservative led administration in the city again.

“We are obviously very pleased that we have picked up Claines, with a significant majority tonight for a very working candidate and now councillor Matthew Lacey,” he added.

“Obviously that means now that we have got 17 out of the 35 seats, so we are the largest group on the council and what I will be seeking to do is to have discussions with other parties over the coming days to see whether we can have a Conservative led administration in Worcester again.

“It is clear the public now have positively voted again for the Conservatives with just a year to go before the General Elections.

“It also comes at a time when you would expect that Labour would be making gain. But that has not happened as they have been ran very close by UKIP which have had a better night than some people would have expected.

“We will reach out to those parties to say that no one has an absolute right to run this council. No one has an overall majority and therefore it is time for discussion between the parties as to how we move forward.”

The results in full are as follows:

Battenhall Ward – CONSERVATIVE HOLD:

Jackie Burnett (UKIP) – 224

Steve MacKay (Conservative) – 863 – ELECTED

Gaynor Pritchard (Labour) – 205

Louis Stephen (Green Party) – 751

Jennifer Whitwam (British National Party) – 16

Turnout: 50.83 per cent

Bedwardine Ward – CONSERVATIVE HOLD:

Jennifer McConnel (Labour) – 540

Peter McNally (Trade Unionists and Socialists Against Cuts) – 31

Mike Mullins (Liberal Democrat) – 122

Russell O’Dell (Green Party) – 140

Martyn Wheeler (UKIP) – 637

Timothy Whitwam (British National Party) – 37

David Wilkinson (Conservative) – 956 – ELECTED

Turnout: 38.4 per cent

Cathedral Ward – LABOUR HOLD:

Hazel Finch (UKIP) – 367

Francis Lankester (Conservative) – 1,021

Andrew North (British National Party) – 24

Annie O’Dell (Green Party) – 354

Jabba Riaz (Labour) – 1,219 – ELECTED

Turnout: 38.84 per cent

Claines Ward – CONSERVATIVE GAIN:

Mel Allcott (Liberal Democrat) – 794

Matt Lacey (Conservative) – 1,054 – ELECTED

Robert Lodge (Labour) – 379

Andrew Newman (UKIP) – 509

Peter Robinson (Green Party) – 206

Turnout: TBC

Gorse Hill Ward – LABOUR HOLD:

Ashley Bradley (British National Party) – 31

John Francis (UKIP) – 390

Simon Harrison (Conservative) – 158

Justin Roland (Green Party) -53

Geoff Williams (Labour) – 509 – ELECTED

Turnout: 31.6 per cent

Nunnery Ward – LABOUR HOLD:

Pat Agar (Labour) – 1,107 – ELECTED

Alan Feeney (Conservative) – 570

Carl Mason (British National Party) – 286

Barbara Mitra (Green Party) – 234

Turnout: 36.5 per cent

Rainbow Hill Ward – LABOUR HOLD:

David Barlow (Green Party) – 106

David Carney (UKIP) – 359

Paul Denham (Labour) – 536 – ELECTED

Alan Draper (British National Party) – 36

Lorraine Edmondson (Conservative) – 195

Andrew Morgan (Trade Unionists and Socialists Against Cuts) – 24

Turnout: TBC

St John Ward – LABOUR HOLD:

Linda Bell (British National Party) – 30

Mark Davies (Trade Unionists and Socialists Against Cuts) – 29

Richard Delingpole (UKIP) – 521

Cajetan Iwunze (Conservative) – 309

Matthew Lamb (Labour) – 822 – ELECTED

Peter Nielsen (Green Party) – 156

Turnout: 32.5 per cent

St Peter’s Parish Ward – CONSERVATIVE HOLD:

Richard Carter (Labour) – 326

Matthew Jenkins (Green Party) – 122

Mike Johnson (Conservative) – 808 – ELECTED

Oliver Orr (Liberal Democrat) – 48

Brenda Wheeler (UKIP) – 380

Turnout: 37.53 per cent

Warndon Ward – LABOUR HOLD:

Stephen Brohan (Green Party) – 48

Pam Clayton (Conservative) – 160

James Goad (UKIP) – 407

Josephine Hodges (Labour) – 447 – ELECTED

Julie Whitwam (British National Party) – 32

Turnout: TBC

Warndon Parish North Ward – CONSERVATIVE HOLD:

Lawson Cartwright (UKIP) – 321

Stephen Hodgson (Conservative) – 655 – ELECTED

Zac Pritchard (Labour) – 290

Paul Snookes (Green Party) – 159

Turnout: 34.56 per cent

Warndon Parish South Ward – CONSERVATIVE HOLD:

Steve Davis (UKIP) – 329

Barbara Dunn (Labour) – 274

Anita Peplow (Green Party) – 112

Andy Roberts (Conservative) – 798 – ELECTED

Turnout: 35.7 per cent

THE MAKE UP OF WORCESTER CITY COUNCIL IS NOW AS FOLLOWS:

Conservative – 17

Labour – 16

Liberal Democrats – 1

Green Party – 1

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