Labour Party Trounce All Comers in Stoke-on-Trent City Council Elections

Stoke-on-Trent voters sent the Labour Party to a resounding victory in the Local Council Elections [Thursday].

Labour took 34 of a possible 44 seats which gives them a clear mandate for the next four years.
The British National Party lost all 5 of their council seats, a move which sees the City free from any far right representation.

The Liberal Democrats were also eradicated from the council chamber. Their leader Kieran Clarke among those who suffered the public backlash against Nick Clegg’s Party that was evidenced across the country.

The Conservatives & Independent Alliance group have been reduced from 8 to 2 in number. Leader Ross Irving and fellow councillor Mark Wright lost out to Independents Terry Follows and Peter Hayward in Trentham & Hanford.
Hazel Lyth and Joanne Powell-Beckett lost out in the new “Ëœsuper’ ward of Milton, Baddeley and Norton, a new Conservative Councillor will serve alongside Labour’s Andy Lilley and Duncan Walker.

Community Voice lost all of their councillors in the biggest shock of the night which no political commentator predicted. Leader Mick Salih, Peter Kent-Baguley & Mike Barnes and Ellie Walker were all casualties.

The election results are an apparent vote of confidence for the austerity measures imposed after the 8.1% cut in funding by the national coalition, Mohammed Pervez Labour Group Leader, is set to continue in the role of Council Leader.

Pervez is looking for a new Deputy Leader after Conservative Group Leader Ross Irving lost out. Paul Shotton and Sarah Hill the front runners after Deputy Group Leader Tom Reynolds ruled himself out last night.

The Labour Party are also claiming that they have defeated the BNP and chased them out of the City turning their last remaining strongholds, Abbey Hulton and Bentilee completely red.

The City Indpendents also took a bit of a bashing although their number could be as high as 6. They lost their Leader Brian Ward, Rita Dale, Barbara Beeston, John Davis and Mick Bell, but they gained Ann James and Glenys Ward.

Rumours are circulating that Paul Breeze and Lee Wanger could join forces with the CIG and that there is a possibility that the 2 Conservative councillors could also join up to make an opposition group of 10.

Nationally it was a disastrous night for the Liberal Democrats who have so far lost control of the 4 councils that they held and a staggering 296 councillors across the country. There are still 171 councils yet to declare.

It hasn’t been to bad an election so far for the Conservative Party who have gained 36 councillors and have taken control of 1 more council, but of corse this could all change today as more results are declared.

Meanwhile back in Stoke-on-Trent, a Labour majority had been predicted and the Pits n Pots poll seemed to confirm that view.

It was obvious from the early declarations that it was going to be a very good night for Pervez and his team.

All 3 Labour MPs were in attendance to offer support and congratulations to the victorious candidates. Rob Flello, Tristram Hunt & Joan Walley urged their council colleagues to remain grounded and prepared to work hard for the next four years.

Next year the Labour Group on Stoke-on-Trent City Council with their 24 seat majority will have to preside over another £20million of cuts in the next financial year and although lacking in opposition in the chamber, there will no shortage of political scrutiny from outside of the council chamber.

Today is a day that the successful candidates will celebrate and those that lost out will be left wondering where it all went wrong.

One thing is for sure, the council chamber will have a very different look to it at the next full council meeting.

Some big personalities will be missing in action. Some will bounce back and some will analyse their performance in the campaign to see if lessons can be learned for the future.

All Audio Interviews from the count last night are available to listen to and we will be adding new ones today.

Labour Landslide In Stoke-on-Trent

Stoke-on-Trent is waking to to a very different political landscape this morning, the morning after the night Labour swept through the new slimmed down chamber taking 34 of the 44 available seats.

As well as the increased majority in the Labour camp we are in a city that is now only represented by 4 of the 10 different parties that stood.

The chamber as elected last night looks like:

Labour 34
Independent 7
Conservative 2
Unaffiliated 1

Gone are the BNP, in a city that was quoted by party chairman Nick Griffin as being the ‘Jewel In The BNPs Crown’ in 2010, we have seen their presence reduced from nine councillors before the May 2010 elections where they were reduced to 5, down to no councillors in last nights count. Michael Coleman the BNP Leader in Stoke-on-Trent had said in an interview with Pits n Pots earlier in the night that he wasn’t confident.

Community Voice, are also gone, taking with them the characters of Peter Kent-Baguley Mick Salih & Mike Barnes all of whom added some colour and interest to the full council meetings. Former BNP councillor Ellie Walker who moved to Community Voice after leaving the BNP in 2010 also lost her seat in Abbey Hulton & Townsend

The Liberal Democrats who fielded only 8.73% of the total vote are also gone taking the ever cheerful Kieran Clarke out of the chamber.

Other casualties are Conservative Group Leader Ross Irving, Hazel Lyth & John Daniels. Mark Wright who was voted in only last year also lost his seat.

Brian Ward the leader of the Independent Group also lost his seat in Blurton West & Newstead

We will be bringing you reaction and interviews from across the winners and losers during the day today.

You can read the archive of our Election Live Blog Here

500 Words From Roger Ibbs

There can be no doubt that the present government inherited an absolute mess made by Labour.

We all know that large reductions are needed.

What cannot be accepted is the way in which the Conservative & Lib Dem Government has supported their own areas and attacked Stoke-on-Trent by massive and disproportionate reductions.

An 8% reduction for Stoke and yet only 1.8% for Staffordshire cannot, by anyone’s view, be fair and that surely is what we should expect from a Government that is supposed to govern for the whole country and not just their friends in Tory or Lib Dem areas.

There can also be no doubt that our Labour led council has cut essential services and not looked deeply enough to cut out waste and inefficiency, which is so obvious to you all.

This year cuts of £ 35 Million have had to be made but next year another £ 20 Million has to be saved.

WHERE WILL THOSE CUTS FALL NEXT YEAR.

Children’s Centres (already cut by 30% ) will be prime targets to be cut altogether. Remember that this action was proposed by Labour this year.

Community Centres could be next.

More Bus routes to be closed ? Who knows but it is essential that you have experienced people there to make those decisions.

I believe these issues are vital to the City’s improvement.

QUALITY JOBS we are known as a low paid area with the associated poor quality jobs that go with it. High fliers have to leave the City in order to find suitable employment. The council need to try harder to attract the right sort of jobs.

ENTERPRISE ZONES it cannot be right that the new zones announced by the Government do not yet include our City. Every effort must be made to convince them that we need the assistance to business by reduced rates and tax breaks that will encourage business’s to come here.

EDUCATION STANDARDS although things have been improving, the improvement is too slow. If we do manage to bring new and better jobs here then we need a highly skilled and qualified workforce.

THE VOLUNTARY SECTOR it is obvious that the council will depend more and more on the voluntary sector to deliver many of our services. There can be no doubt that this sector delivers better £ for £ than the council can. It is time to give them more support NOT LESS

These elections will be the last for 4 years and so the decision you make will be vital for our City.

500 Words From Shaun Bennett

I have the honour and the privilege of being able to stand as the
Independent candidate for my own home ward of Hollybush and Longton West.

I have lived in Hollybush for the past 20 years. My friends and family
live in and around the ward, and for the past six years I have also worked
in the ward. So I have such a lot of personal interest invested in this
ward. I understand the problems that local people face because they affect
me too. Some other candidates have tried to get people to believe that
they live in the Hollybush area when they do not. But both the Labour and
Tory candidates live as far away as Weston Coyney. We need someone living
‘above the shop’, in the local community, listening to local people and
who is just around the corner when people need them.

Whilst the Labour candidate has relied upon nationally drawn up leaflets
printed outside the city and not talking about the local community at all,
I have being focussing on local issues and local people. For example,
buses are a big issue in the ward and I have pledged to work to restore
the number 40 Copelands bus to the Hollybush estate which local pensioners
have relied upon for the past 12 years. Parking is another big
issue-residents bays in Hollybush were planned incorrectly by the Labour
controlled City council and encourage double parking so that emergency
vehicles and buses cannot get full access to the estate. Housing and
anti-social behaviour are other big priorities for the ward and I will
always work to ensure that the system is on the side of the ordinary
decent citizen rather than the ‘neighbours from hell’ or the hooligan on
the street corner.

500 words is nowhere near enough to present a full plan for the ward and
the problems that we face. I shall therefore end by saying that as well as
the local issues I have spoken about above I believe that it is time for a
complete new broom in our town hall. We must work harder to encourage
business and investment into the city. We are ideally placed
geographically for business and of course we now need to be designated as
an enterprise zone to prevent investment from slipping away. I want a
reversal in the ever increasing city parking charges-including the
restoration of free evening and Sunday parking-to bring more shoppers into
the city. And I want to work towards actually being able to REDUCE the tax
burden on the overtaxed residents of the city.

Under Labour, we have paid some of the highest taxes for some of the worst
services in the country. But other authorities have shown that you CAN
reduce the tax burden whilst also getting better value and more efficient
local services. Its time for Stoke-on-Trent to change and reform the way
in which we do business. Its time for a common-sense revolution in the
town hall.

Shaun Bennett
Independent Candidate, Hollybush and Longton West

More Problems With Stoke-on-Trent Ward Boundaries Emerge

With less than 24 hours until the polling stations open, a further ward boundary issue has been highlighted to Pits n pots.

It has already been reported that a number of houses on London Road were placed in Springfields and Trent Vale instead of the Boothen and Oakhill ward, while properties on Leek Road are mixed up between Birches Head and Central Forest Park and Abbey Hulton and Townsend wards.

A number of properties on High Lane have been incorrectly placed in to Burslem Park ward when they should actually be in Little Chell and Stanfield ward.

In Blurton properties on Finstock Avenue should be in Blurton East ward but have been placed in the have mistakenly been registered in Blurton West and Newstead ward.

Now it appears that Wileman Street in Fenton has been placed in to the Mount Pleasant and Fenton West Ward when it is actually part of the Fenton East Ward. Victoria Road in Fenton forms part of the boundary between the two wards with Wileman Street being to the east but has been placed in to the ward on the west of the road.

This is yet another mess left by the Electoral Review which the citizens of Stoke-on-Trent are going to have to live with.

It is unfortunate these anomalies have happened but they are a very small percentage amounting to 3 or 4 streets out of over 6,000. I need to emphasise everyone entitled to a vote can still vote, no one has been deprived of a vote, and I would encourage them to use their vote tomorrow (Thursday).

The Boundary Commission decision on wards was very late, the end of January, these anomalies are a result of not having enough time to check everything before this election. After 5 May we will start to check the register thoroughly.

Do you know of any other streets or properties which have been placed in the wrong ward?

Who Should I Vote For?

So it is less than 24 hours until the polling booths open and I need to decide who I am going to vote for.

In my ward I have 6 candidates each of who I would like to think should be canvassing me for my vote, they have all allegedly put themselves forward because they want to do the best for the community they live in. So let’s look at what I have had in the way of election leaflets from each of the parties.

  • Community Voice – 4 leaflets all black and white with 1 addressed and posted
  • Conservatives – Nothing
  • England First – Nothing
  • Labour – 5 leaflets 1 glossy, 4 colour printed with 2 of them addressed and posted
  • Liberal Democrats – Nothing
  • TUSC – Nothing

I have had no knock on the door from any candidate, I have been on annual leave for the previous 2 weeks and someone has been in the house each and every day.

Mike Barnes from Community Voice has obviously been out ‘doorstepping’ he even tweeted about it a few days back.

Twitter / @mike barnes: Another 4 1/2 hours on the ...

 

For some reason Mike has deleted this tweet, blocked a load of his twitter followers and protected his account so that only people who he ‘authorises’ can see his tweets. I find this a bit strange from a person who has never been afraid of self publicity. It has to be said I think there is a bit more to this story with ‘Lil and Sue’ than meets the eye, this will come out after the count tomorrow I’m sure.

Mike was even trying to take £10,000 bets on him still being a councilor on May 6,

  barnes-betting

I should point out that win or lose Barnes, who also said he will get more votes than all the other candidates put together, will be a councillor until 9 May as this is the day that the winning candidates are sworn in to office.

So back to who should I vote for? 

I vote differently in General Elections than I do in Local Elections, in a General Election it is about the party who I think will do the best (or least damage) for the country, locally it is the person who I think will do the best for me and my community, but how do I make a decision on who is going to be best for me and my ward if the candidates generally don’t tell me about what they are going to do when they become my elected representative?

4 of the 6 candidates in this ward have taken Pits n Pots up on the offer of a 500 word article and while we are getting between 16 & 20,000 visitors a day, publishing something on-line either on Pits n Pots or on your own website is not an alternative to traditional canvassing. I am under no illusions that people still want bits of paper through the door and want to look at the candidate in the eyes to see what makes them tick.

I want the candidates to knock on my door on the run up to an election, even if I set the dogs on them I want the choice on whether I speak to them or not, I don’t want to be ignored.

After every election there is a big hoo-ha made about what the % turn out was and why is it so low, maybe all parties need to look at actually engaging with the electorate on the run up to the election rather than just sticking a name on the nomination from so they can say the party fielded a candidate in the ward.

We deserve better from the people who hope to represent us.

Who am I going to vote for? that is between me and the ballot box but I can assure you that 3 of the 6 in my ward are not in the running straight away.