Labour could be first party to take full control of Bradford Council for more than a decade (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Labour could be first party to take full control of Bradford Council for more than a decade
Labour could have taken full control of Bradford Council, despite Respect gaining at least four seats.
Early indications as the results of the Council elections were filtering through in the early hours of this morning were that Labour could hold a majority of seats on the authority.
Leader of the Council, Ian Greenwood, said: “It is a possibility, but a number of seats, including my own, are so close, it is hard to call.”
Conservative deputy leader Simon Cooke, took to Twitter to say: “Looking likely that Labour will squeak their way to an overall majority in Bradford.”
The Council has been in no overall control for more than a decade. Labour have led the authority for the past two years and in the run in to this election held 43 seats.
While Coun Greenwood’s seat was neck and neck and heading for a possible recount with 150 votes in it, Bradford South MP Gerry Sutcliffe told the Telegraph & Argus that Respect was likely to have taken two seats off Labour – City and Manningham, one from the Conservatives in Heaton and one from the Lib Dems in Bradford Moor.
Respect MP for Bradford West George Galloway, who boycotted the count, declared on Twitter that the party had taken City and Bradford Moor.
Mr Sutcliffe added that Labour was expecting to win two seats from the Conservatives - Clayton and Fairweather Green, and Keighley East, and take Keighley West which was vacant. The party was also performing well in Queensbury and Worth Valley, which are currently held by the Tories, and Craven, which is independent.
Councillor Jeanette Sunderland, leader of the Liberal Democrats, said their vote was holding up well and that they hoped to defend most of their six seats.
A third of the Council’s 90 seats were being contested and Labour were defending 10, the Conservatives 11, Liberal Democrats six, the Green Party one, and The Independents one.
The political make-up of the Council prior to the election stood at the ruling Labour group on 43, the Conservatives with 27, Liberal Democrats on 11, three Green Party councillors, two councillors forming The Independents group, and three independents. One seat was vacant, given the resignation of Robert Payne in Keighley West following his conviction for animal cruelty.
Labour was fighting all 30 seats as were the Liberal Democrats. The Conservatives were fielding 28 candidates, with 13 for the Greens, 12 for Respect, eight for the UK Independence Party, three Democratic Nationalists, one independent, one for the British National Party and one Socialist Labour candidate.
There were Labour gains expected in Keighley East and Keighley West.
Former Tory Councillor, Adrian Naylor, who was deselected by the Conservatives and stood as an Independent, is believed to have retained his seat in Craven, polling about 40 per cent of the votes.
The first result to be announced was Wharfedale, where Conservative candidate Dale Smith – set to become Bradford’s next Lord Mayor – held his seat. He polled 2,252 votes, with Labour’s Dave Allen his closest rival with 694.
Coun Smith said: “I am delighted. I had not assumed I would win as there is always a tension in local elections.” He said voters in Wharfedale were “anxious” about protecting the green belt from development, adding: “We recognise the need for affordable housing but we are concerned about the connectivity with places where there are jobs in Leeds and Bradford.”
Green party leader, Councillor Martin Love, also held Shipley, polling about half the votes in the ward. He said: “It will have been our best result ever. I am very pleased to be back in for another four years and would like to thank the people of Shipley for putting their trust in me.”