Elections 2019: St Albans district councillors give their views

PUBLISHED: 10:03 08 May 2019 | UPDATED: 10:03 08 May 2019

Cllr David Mitchell at the Planning Policy Committee. Picture: SADC webcast

Cllr David Mitchell at the Planning Policy Committee. Picture: SADC webcast

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Green district councillor Simon Grover, who is organising the inaugural meeting of the Environment Action Group.Green district councillor Simon Grover, who is organising the inaugural meeting of the Environment Action Group.

The minority parties on the district council have offered their reactions to this week's tumultuous election results.

St Albans Labour Party leader Roma Mills said she sees the results as having been "trumped by Brexit". She said she was extremely sorry to see the lost seats, describing votes as "a big protest" against the national picture.

Cllr Mills said: "I have knocked on a lot of doors. I have spoken to people who said they would not vote for us because they wanted to leave the EU and they aren't happy. I have spoken to other people on the same street who voted Remain and were not going to vote because of that.

She added: "I very much regret that people haven't looked at the other issues. The turn out was generally low and I don't think this predicts anything."

Cllr Roma Mills. Photo: JAMES WARD PHOTOGRAPHYCllr Roma Mills. Photo: JAMES WARD PHOTOGRAPHY

Cllr Simon Grover remains the only Green councillor representative across the district. He said although the results were disappointing for the party, he feels that the overall picture for the Greens is a positive one.

Cllr Grover said he was "delighted that the votes have doubled" and that the "general feeling is that more people are voting Green".

He said: "The First Past The Post electoral system makes it really difficult for us to get a new seat. We would have needed to get about 26 per cent to do that. Proportional representation would be fairer."

"In other areas Greens have gained more seats - some for the first time and in some areas there are four or five Green councillors. It is definitely worth keeping going."

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Cllr Grover said he is pleased that the Conservatives will now need to cooperate with Labour and the Greens and described the atmosphere as being "very jubilant" for the Liberal Democrats and that the "Tories were very depressed".

He further explained that the Greens buddy up with the other independent parties in order to get more done and support each other and joked that "it can be lonely" holding just one seat.

David Mitchell gained a seat for the first time as an independent councillor for Redbourn and said he is very excited by the prospect.

He said: "I am very pleased - Redbourn is traditionally Conservative and hard to knock off their seats. I knew it was very close.

"The biggest issue for Redbourn is saving the Green Belt from being used for housing developments.

"Not that I'm against housing. People want to live and work in the same place. Redbourn isn't going to provide that. Redbourn objects to being a scapegoat."

Cllr Mitchell is glad he now has a "better platform" to raise the issue. He sees the overall results as "very interesting" and remarked that "the Conservatives have lost their grip on the council to the Lib Dems".

He added: "I am used to parish work but this is a step up. I am delighted to have got in and to be able to work hard and represent the people of Redbourn."

Cllr Mitchell also referred to his positive relationship with Cllr Grover and said that while he is "independent for a reason" the Green party are a group of people he admires.

The next elections will be for the European Parliament. Registered voters will be able to take part in the elections on Thursday May 23 for the Eastern Region, which will return seven MEPs by a party-list system of proportional representation.

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