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Archive for the ‘Local Elections 2011’ Category

By Sam Rkaina, Local Government Reporter

Bristol’s Liberal Democrats have agreed to a series of concessions to opposition parties in order to keep control of the city council.

Here we look at what they have agreed, and what they haven’t.

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By Sam Rkaina,  Local Government Reporter

NEWLY re-elected city council leader Barbara Janke has pledged to “build on the success of the last two years” and continue to fight for Bristol.

Speaking at Tuesday’s annual council meeting, Mrs Janke said her colleagues would not turn their backs on their responsibilities.

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By Sam Rkaina, Local Government Reporter

THE Liberal Democrats have retained control of Bristol City Council after making a series of concessions to opposition parties.

A vote yesterday confirmed that the current ruling group will continue as a minority administration, despite losing overall control of the authority at the May 5 elections.

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By Sam Rkaina, Local Government Reporter

THE future control of Bristol City Council is to be decided today, after nearly two weeks of political negotiations.

Barbara Janke is expected to continue as leader of the authority with the Liberal Democrats running a minority administration.

A rethink on trams, a review of the green-spaces sell off plan and a decisive debate on whether Ashton Vale should be a town green are believed to be among the main concessions that will allow them to remain in power.

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See the original story on the EP website

By Sam Rkaina, Local Government Reporter


THERE are eight new councillors serving the people of Bristol following last week’s local elections.

Six of them are fresh faces, as they have never served on the city council before.

There are also two former councillors who have been re-elected after several years away from the authority.

The new blood includes Gus Hoyt for the Green Party, who took one of the Ashley seats from the Liberal Democrats.

New Ashley councillor Green Gus Hoyt

Ashley had the highest turnout with more than 49 per cent and Mr Hoyt polled more than 2,200 votes – the largest number for any of the 24 successful candidates.

Mr Hoyt told the Evening Post he had received 1,000 emails within 24 hours of winning the seat.

He said: “I certainly hit the road running with a meeting with the police then parents concerned about primary school places.”

Labour has six new councillors after a successful night in which they won four extra seats.

Mahmadur Khan took the Eastville seat from former Councillor Muriel Cole, after 12 years of Lib Dem rule.

It was the first time the 40-year-old restaurant manager from Eastville had ever stood for election.

New Eastville councillor, Labour's Mahmadur Khan

He said: “I would like to say to the people of Eastville that they have trusted me and I will do my best to serve them.”

New Lawrence Hill councillor, Labour's Margaret Hickman

Margaret Hickman beat Lib Dem candidate Abdul Malik for the Lawrence Hill seat, which was previously held by Lib Dem Sue O’Donnell.

She said: “I’m looking forward to being the councillor for Lawrence Hill and sharing it with Brenda (Hugill, the other Labour councillor for the ward). I look forward to doing more work with people in the community.”

Barry Clark beat Lib Dem Jos Clark to take the Hengrove seat, after 15 years of Lib Dem control.

It was the fourth time the 42-year-old IT administrator from Hengrove had stood for election.

He said: “I have the advantage of living in the ward, I know the people and I know the problems and hopefully that’s the trust the people of Hengrove have given me.”

New Hengrove councillor, Labour's Barry Clark

Phil Hanby held the Hillfields seat for Labour, after previous councillor Martin Golding decided to spend more time with his young family.

New Hillfields councillor, Labour's Phil Hanby

Another first time winner, Mr Hanby is a sales advisor who lives in the ward.

Mike Langley held the Brislington East seat for the party after the previous Labour councillor Simon Crew stood down from local politics.

He is returning to the council after previously representing Frome Vale between 1990 and 1996.

The 55-year-old retired bus driver from Fishponds said Mr Crew will be a hard act to follow. When he was announced as the winner on Friday morning he joked that it was the only time he had been at Ashton Gate and wanted the blues to lose.

And in St George West, Peter Hammond won back the seat that Labour had lost to the Lib Dems‘ Tony Potter, after former councillor John Deasey passed away in 2008. Mr Hammond was re-elected as leader at the party’s AGM on Saturday, replacing former leader Helen Holland.

New St George West councillor, Peter Hammond

New Brislington East councillor, Labour's Mike Langley

Speaking as he won the seat, Mr Hammond said: “I am very pleased on a personal note to be the occupant of the seat once occupied by the late John Deasey who was a personal friend of mine, highly regarded by the electorate and if nothing else it will be my objective to live up to the standards he set as a local councillor.”

While the Lib Dems didn’t win any new seats on election night, one new member has replaced a councillor who stepped down before campaigning started. Christian Martin, takes over from Mike Popham as the representative for Clifton East. The 41-year-old film maker from Montpelier has been a party activist for 18 years but this is the first time he’s been a councillor.

He said: “I think it’s rather fitting I have retained a seat for the Lib Dems as a new candidate when the press are writing us off.”

The new council is due to sit for the first time on Tuesday at 2pm.

Click here to see videos of councillor’s acceptance speeches on election night

New Clifton East councillor, Christian Martin

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By Lynne Hutchinson and Rachel Clare

CITY council leader Barbara Janke has been re-elected unopposed to head the Liberal Democrats, despite the party losing its majority in the local elections.
Mrs Janke was voted back in at the group’s annual general meeting and will now be its candidate for leader of the council at the authority’s  annual meeting a week tomorrow.
The council’s Labour group has elected Peter Hammond as its new leader, replacing Helen Holland.
And Peter Abraham, currently Conservative group acting leader, looks set to become leader when Cllr Geoffrey Gollop steps down to become Lord Mayor.

Lib Dem leader Barbara Janke

Mrs Janke, who retained her own Clifton seat with an increased majority, said: “I’m delighted to continue to serve the interests of Lib Dems in Bristol as leader.
“Up and down the country we have paid the price for our party’s involvement in the Coalition Government and, in particular, the public spending cuts brought in to pay for the last Labour government’s extravagance.
“I fully expect to regain our majority and win back seats at the next local elections in two years’ time.”
The Lib Dems remain the largest group on the council – with 33 of the 70 seats – even though they lost five seats and their overall majority.
Labour have 21 seats and the Conservatives 14 and the Greens two.
With no party having overall control, the Lib Dems have now invited the other parties to meet to discuss how to run the council. The Lib Dems will meet again on Wednesday (May 11) so members can elect a cabinet.

New Labour group leader Peter Hammond, 59, who was elected in a secret ballot, predicted the party would regain control of the council at the next election in 2013.
The college lecturer from Stapleton first became a city councillor 32 years ago. He has represented St George East, Southmead and now St George West.
He also previously led the group from 2003 to 2005.

In: new Labour leader Peter Hammond

Out: Helen Holland re-elected for Whitchurh Park but replaced as leader

Labour now have 21 councillors after adding another five in last week’s elections.
Mr Hammond said: “Voters in Bristol have not taken to the Lib Dems in government, where ‘savage cuts’ were promised and were more than readily delivered by the Lib Dem administration in Bristol.
“The perception has been that the Lib Dems are Tories in sheep’s clothing. Voters have protested and it’s clear the Lib Dems are in crisis.”

Peter Hammond elected for St George West

Mr Hammond promised to continue to campaign against the sell-off of some of Bristol’s green spaces.
He also said the current primary school places crisis was another issue he and his Labour colleagues would be focusing on.
Acting Bristol Tory leader and former Lord Mayor Peter Abraham said he would like to see some of the current council’s “very unpopular” policies reversed if the party was to negotiate a deal with the Lib Dems.

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By Local Government Reporter Sam Rkaina

BRISTOL City Council faces an uncertain future after the ruling Liberal Democrats lost overall control at the local elections.

The Lib Dems lost five seats to Labour and the Green Party, and although they are still the largest party they will no longer have the ability to force through their policies regardless of political opposition.

The new makeup of the council sees the Lib Dems with 33 seats, Labour with 21, the Conservatives with 14 and the Green Party with two.

Click here for videos of councillors’ victory speeches

Speaking shortly after the last of 24 seats up for grabs was declared yesterday morning, Lib Dem and council leader Barbara Janke said she would have discussions with other political groups to decide a way forward.

Labour took four of the Lib Dems’ seats in Eastville, Hengrove, St George West and Lawrence Hill and the Green Party took one in Ashley ward.

The Lib Dems who lost their seats were Muriel Cole in Eastville, Jos Clark in Hengrove and Tony Potter in St George West .

Tony Potter lost St George West for the Lib Dems

Muriel Cole lost Eastville for Lib Dems

Jos Clark lost Hengrove for the Lib Dems

Shirley Brown and Sue O’Donnell both stood down before the elections in Ashley and Lawrence Hill but their Lib Dem replacements failed to hold onto their seats.

The Tories held onto their three seats but failed to make any gains.

Turnout on the night was 39.9 per cent, with 87,652 people successfully casting their vote.

The lowest ward turnout was in Filwood with just 26.7 per cent of people voting Labour’s Jeff Lovell back in while the highest was Ashley with 49.6 per cent and a Green Party gain.

One former city councillor – Labour’s Peter Hammond – returned to the authority by taking St George West from the Lib Dems.

But three other former members failed to do so – Lib Dem Abdul Malik in Lawrence Hill, Tory Barbara Lewis in Hillfields and Green Charlie Bolton in Southville.

New Hengrove councillor Labour's Barry Clark

New Ashley councillor Green Gus Hoyt

New St George West councillor Labour's Peter Hammond

It was a long night for the hundreds of counters, councillors and candidates who turned out to the local election count at Ashton Gate.

Final results were not declared until after 5am and didn’t finish until after 6am – much later than originally predicted.

Part of this was because the Electoral Commission had decided all AV votes had to be verified before local election results could be counted – even though the Alternate Vote ballots were not to be counted until Friday.

But there were none of the problems of last year’s widely criticised local and general elections, when the votes were misplaced then found, and papers for Bishopston and Bishopsworth mixed up because they sound similar.

It was a long night at Ashton Gate

Lib Dem and council leader Barbara Janke described the result as “disastrous” but felt the party had fared better in Bristol than other parts of the country.

While Lib Dem majorities fell dramatically in some seats they held – Knowle  and  Brislington West included – in others like Cabot, Windmill Hill and Clifton they actually went up.

Lib Dem leader Barbara Janke

Mrs Janke – who retained her Clifton seat with an increased majority – said: “Compared with what’s been happening nationally we’ve done better in Bristol.

“We would like to have kept our majority and we’re very disappointed but we will not walk away from our responsibility.

“We will meet with other parties to look at how best to work with them in what will be a challenging year ahead.

“We will fight back and we certainly want to achieve a majority in the Bristol again as soon as possible.

The Lib Dems took control of the authority in 2009 from Labour, when the Tories sided with them in a row over an incinerator.

Mrs Janke said the Lib Dems would listen to the messages voters had given them during the campaign but felt national issues had played a part in the result.

She said: “There are very different results in different parts of the city – in Windmill Hill we have a majority of 1,000 but other seats we have lost.

“We need to listen to the messages we’ve heard from the doorsteps.”

Labour's Helen Holland

Labour leader Helen Holland – who regained her Whitchurch Park seat with an increased majority – said it had been a good night for her party in Bristol.

She said: “To gain four seats is great but if you look at some of the numbers we’ve run the Lib Dems very close where they’ve been confident of a decent size majority.

“They (the Lib Dems) have found out what it’s like to have to defend the party in government. The people of Bristol have said ‘we don’t trust you’.

“One thing it does show is that they cannot carry on working in such an arrogant manner on things like the parks and green spaces.

“They’ve got to take more account of the views of their communities. Mrs Holland wouldn’t be drawn on what might happen to the leadership of the council now, other than it would be a matter for the next full council meeting on May 17.

In terms of seats there was no change for the Tories, but much like in 2009 they still have the chance to play kingmaker.

But the Bristol Lib Dems will no doubt be mindful that the national coalition with the Conservatives  is one of the main reasons the party has done so badly across the country.

Deputy Tory leader Peter Abraham

Conservative Deputy Leader Councillor Peter Abraham said: “Given the circumstances, the Conservative vote has held up extremely well.

“Our primary aim was to hold all of the seats we were defending.

“At a time when Conservatives are the lead partner in a Government tasked with dealing with Labour’s disastrous deficit  – it was always going to be difficult to make gains but we were delighted with our polling performance across the city.

“The same cannot be said of our Coalition partners the Liberal Democrats.  Locally, they lost five seats but if the whole of the Council had been up for election, this figure would have been far higher.  On my calculations it would have been in the region of 12 to 15 seats, which would have given them a group in the lower 20’s.

“As such, these results have dealt a devastating blow to the Lib Dems in Bristol.  People have clearly lost confidence in their ability to run the city.

“The Conservative Group will be doing everything in its power to ensure that our policies are reflected in or pursued by the new Administration over the next two years.”

And although the Green Party only took one more seat at the elections they still had plenty of reasons to celebrate.

The collectively polled 2,000 more votes than when the same seats were contested in 2007, took second place in Southville and third in Bishopsworth,  Cabot, Clifton, Easton, Frome Vale and Windmill Hill.

In victory speeches, a number of Labour and Tory candidates criticised their Lib Dem opponents, alleging they had played a campaign of “dirty tricks” in seats including St George West and Stockwood although they did not go into specifics.

This wasn’t the case everywhere though – and in Ashley in particular, the Lib Dems, Green and Labour candidates praised each other for a “good, clean fight”.

Click here for a full break down of results

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