St Albans election result does nothing to upset political stalemate (From St Albans & Harpenden Review)
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St Albans election result does nothing to upset political stalemate
Updated 9:47am Friday 30th May 2014 in News
Last night’s local election result did nothing to upset the political stalemate at at St Albans District Council.
Once again the council has no overall control but the Conservative administration remains the largest party maintaining 29 seats on the council.
The Conservatives share of the total vote was up from 33.6 per cent to 36.6 per cent.
Reacting after the result, Conservative party leader, Julian Daly said: "We are very happy.
"We've held our own for a second year while the local authorities around us are suffering attrition to Labour and UKIP."
The Liberal Democrats remain the second biggest party with 17 seats, while the Labour party gained two and now have 10 seats on the council. The Green Party and Independents have one seat each.
In the St Peter’s ward standing for the first time, Conservative councillor Alun Davies took a former Lib Dem seat. Councillor Davies gained 667 votes in a tight battle between Lib Dem Councillor Andrew Green, who gained 624 votes.
Councillor Davies said: "I am very shocked, I am still shaking. I never thought I would win it going up against people with much more experience than me.
"Thanks must go to Alec Campbell and the small bunch of people who helped me with my campaign. I was just honest and genuine with people and I think that’s what they must have wanted."
Labour gained two seats in the Sopwell and London Colney wards.
It was Councillor Katherine Gardener who won back the London Colney seat for Labour. She said: "I am just delighted to have won. I am looking forward to working with the existing London Colney Labour party.
"We have taken back a traditional Labour seat."
The UK Independence Party failed to make a dent in the voting, however Lib Dem party leader Councillor Chris White suggested votes for Greens was the reason for the Conservative party gain.
Following a recount Labour won back its seat from the Lib Dems in the Sopwell ward. It was a close majority with Councillor Iain Grant taking 840 votes and Lib Dem representative David Poor taking 808 votes.
Councillor White said: "We are quite surprised to retain our seats despite the suggestion by national media.
"We are now just two down with a small minority in Sopwell and St Peters. We knew both of them would be difficult. We were three down, lost two and have gained one.
"I am slightly surprised Tories took a hold over St Peters but I guess you have to learn that is what will happen when residents vote Green, they will get a Tory councillor."
It was varied votes all round for UKIP and party chairman, Peter Whitehead, came in third with 618 votes on the St Stephen ward.
Conservative councillors Sue Featherstone held her seat, while fellow Conservative councillor Dave Winstone also gained a seat.
UKIP’s parliamentary candidate, John Stocker, came in second on the Sandridge ward with 304 votes against Conservative councillor Beric Read, who gained the majority with 770 votes.
Lib Dem councillor Anthony Rowlands comfortably kept his seat on the Ashley ward, while Labour Roma Mills was met with cheers when it was announced she had kept her seat on the Batchwood ward.
She said: "I am very pleased. I am very encouraged by the result. To have 48 per cent of the vote - it shows that I am doing the right things.
"I think it is reassuring to know that what I am doing is being recognised by the residents of Batchwood.I hope to continue working with people to improve the ward and the way people live in the ward.
"It is exciting."
Lib Dem councillors Rob Prowse, Jamie Day, Tom Clegg, Aislinn Lee retained their ward seats.
Councillor Clegg said: "I am really pleased as always because it’s been a tough six weeks.
"It’s a relief because we were expecting a tough contest."
While the current St Albans Mayor Annie Brewster comfortably kept her Wheathampstead seat with a majority of the votes. Fellow Conservative councillor Sandra Wood also gained a seat on the village ward.
Councillor Brewster said: "I am delighted to have been selected to represent my wonderful village of Wheathampstead."
Conservative party leader, Julian Daly, gained a high majority of the votes comfortably sitting with 1,599 votes on the Harpenden West ward.
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