Herts county council election 2017: Reaction
PUBLISHED: 14:27 05 May 2017 | UPDATED: 09:20 08 May 2017
Dust is settling in the aftermath of this year's Herts county council election results, which were counted and officially announced today (May 5).
Across St Albans and Harpenden divisions there are now one Labour, four Conservative, and five Liberal Democrat county councillors representing local people.
Liberal Democrat Cllr Sandy Walkington, who was re-elected to St Albans South with 2,899 votes, said: “I was honoured to receive more votes than any other candidate of any party in St Albans and Harpenden.
“It was a stunningly good, strong result for the Liberal Democrats across St Albans. It’s disappointing that [the Liberal Democrats] lost St Stephens but we gained St Albans North and held constituencies that have changed boundaries and we have some excellent new county councillors. It’s a very strong result.”
He believes that nationally, politics is “profoundly changing” because of the Brexit vote.
Adding: “It’s a great honour to be re-elected and there is a huge amount to do - roads, pavements, having enough school places, and of course working with the health service in the county so that there is seamless and properly delivered provision for the older people.”
Conservative Cllr Annie Brewster won with 2,795 votes in a new constituency, Harpenden Rural: “I am totally overwhelmed by the astonishing support I have received from Wheathampstead, Redbourn, Sandridge and Kinsbourne Green residents.
“It will be the greatest honour to represent some of Hertfordshire’s finest villages at County Hall.
“Whilst these rural areas share many similarities, each has its own distinct character and I very much look forward to working with village groups, councillors and residents to effect positive change.”
Labour’s Dreda Gordon has kept her seat with 1,326 votes, but in a new division that used to be The Colneys and is now called London Colney: “I feel fantastic, I am very excited and delighted with our wins, but we have lost some very good colleagues as well - for example Roma Mills in St Albans North and Batchwood - so I think my result bucks the trend of the country to an extent.”
She said the backlash to Brexit did not affect the result in her division any more than it did elsewhere.
“I have been working really hard in the community for the last four years and people accept that and people know that, and I want to carry on being a community councillor.”
There were a number of Green candidates standing, but none of them managed to gain a majority.
Green St Albans district Cllr Simon Grover commented on the result: “We’d like to thank the thousands of voters across the district who voted Green on Thursday, showing their support for the work we’ve been doing in St Albans and the values we have of putting people and planet first.
“Nationally, the Greens are the only progressive party to have made gains in this election. So while we were disappointed not to win a county seat here in St Albans, we’re optimistic about the future.”
Turnout from across Hertfordshire was 34.1 per cent - the Conservatives gained five seats, the Liberal Democrats have upped their standing by two, but Labour suffered huge losses.
They have gone from being 14 strong in the last election in 2013 to now only holding nine seats.
Overall there were 290,428 votes, of which 45.9 per cent were Conservative, 25.1 per cent Lib Dem, 20.5 per cent Labour, 7.8 per cent ‘Other’ and 0.4 per cent Independent.