Labour doubles seats in St Albans
LABOUR have doubled their number of seats on St Albans district council following yesterday’s poll but the Conservatives remain the largest single party.
Three of the Labour gains were made at the expense of the Lib Dems and one from the Conservatives who in turn gained one seat from the Lib Dems.
But even though the Lib Dems were the biggest losers on the night, they are still the second largest party with 19 seats while Labour now have eight and the Conservatives 29.
The district’s only Green Party councillor Simon Grover hung on to his St Peter’s ward seat comfortably as did Independent Tony Swendell in Redbourn.
One-third of the district council was up for re-election and in line with forecasts, the turnout was much lower than in previous years in the region of 35 per cent.
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The Labour gains were in Batchwood where Malachy Pakenham returns to the council, Ashley and Sopwell while in London Colney, where there was also a by-election, another former Labour councillor Dreda Gordon topped the poll.
Leading Lib Dem Melvyn Teare, who was a portfolio holder in the previous administration, lost his seat in Marshalswick South to Conservative candidate Heidi Allen.
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But despite a disappointing night generally, the Lib Dems saw their vote increase in some wards including Verulam and Park Street.
Lib Dem group leader, Cllr Robert Donald, said the results were, “not too much of a surprise” and his party had thought it might be worse.
He went on: “We did better than we feared against the Tories and with Labour, it was what we expected.”
He saw the outcome as voters wanting to send the Lib Dems a message about the national coalition and their perception of it.
Labour group leader, Cllr Martin Leach, said his party was the only one to have taken seats from both the others.
“We have doubled the size of our group in one night and it is a very positive result,” he commented.
But for Conservative group leader, Cllr Julian Daly, the result means no change from the past year.
He said: “We are still a minority administration and the Mayor will have the casting vote.”