MAY 5, 2023

By Harry Mottram: There has been a sea change in the politics of Bath and North East Somerset as the Conservatives saw their representation collapse to just three councillors on the May 3rd local elections. The main gainers from their demise are the incumbent Liberal Democrat administration who added three extra wards to give them 41 councillors (with Paulton still to vote) and the Labour Party who become the opposition with five councillors. The other gainers were the Greens who are up to three councillors while the Independents held up with Bath’s June Player and Colin Blackburn comfortable winners in Westmoreland.

The questions facing the Conservatives now are why have voters turned away from them when in 2015 they had 37 councillors. Nationally the Rishi Sunak led administration is behind in the opinion polls to Kier Starmer’s Labour Party which is mainly due to the Cost of Living Crisis with high energy prices, inflation in double digits, the Brexit Trade Deal that has harmed business and the economy and wages falling behind the rise in inflation leading to widespread strikes. That only covers part of the story as many people vote differently in local as compared to general elections but the BANES’ figures show Labour’s share of the vote increased.

In Bath the Conservatives have been critical of the Lib Dems’ changes to the streets and roads of the city such as the Ring of Steel in a bid to improve conditions for cycling and walking, to cut pollution and to cut down on rat runs. Despite their campaign it didn’t cut through to voters – suggesting those policies have had the thumbs up from many residents rather than a vote loser.

If you listen to some commentators, fed up Tories who are dismayed by the Government’s recent record with the economy are voting Green in protest – rather than voting Labour. This may be in part true but there is clearly an appetite for the Green Party’s policies of caring for the environment, improving public transport and boosting the use of renewable energy sources – especially amongst younger voters.

And across the UK Independent candidates have traditionally done well in local elections compared to general elections – and in Bath June Player and Colin Blackburn have been re-elected without the help of a party machine – but have won on the strength of their local commitment to their community and their good standing locally.

Looking ahead to the General Election which is expected to take place in October 2024, although could be as early as May next year or as late as January 2025, it is foolish to predict the outcome as so much can change. As mentioned, people often vote differently in the two types of election. However the received wisdom is that the Conservatives could lose the keys to 10 Downing Street if the pincer movement of the Lib Dems taking Tory seats in the south and Labour taking them in the North and the Midlands is successful – then Kier Starmer could be the next prime minister – but possibly not with a overall majority. In Bath the election omens are good for MP Wera Hobhouse for the Liberal Democrats – while in North East Somerset it looks bleak for Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg. Yes, there appears to be a sea change in politics as happened in 1945, 1980, 1997 and 2010 – whether that change continues next year remains to be seen.

Nationally it depends on whether the current Government can improve the economy and cut inflation ending the Cost of Living Crisis. The next General Election will also be decided by Labour convincing enough former Conservatives to vote for them in the Midlands and the North – and if they can make inroads into the SNP vote in Scotland. So many variables – and so much for commentators to chew over in the coming months.

The photo is by the BBC and showsthe MP Wera Hobhouse with the Lib Dem leader of the council Kevin Guy.

Here are more results which saw the Liberal Democrats win the council with thanks to John Wimperis, Local Democracy Reporter

Weston — Lib Dem HOLD

Anthony Stuart Dobson (GRN) 219

Martin Reynold Roberto Grixoni (CON) 644

Ruth Madeline Malloy (LD) 1,127

Elaeth Samuel Myers-McCraw (LAB) 162

John Neville (GRN) 152

Graham Martin Pristo (CON) 698

Malcolm John Treby (LD) 959

Julie Ann Williams (LAB) 168

Turnout 48.28%

Saltford — Lib Dem HOLD

Andy Busby (CON) 548

John William Christian (GRN) 135

Helen Irene Crew (CON) 371

Duncan Stuart Hounsell (LD) 1,058

Joan Liley (LAB) 211

Alison Lisa Streatfeild-James (LD) 676

Leon Charles Telford (LAB) 156

Emily Unsworthy-White (GRN) 177

Christopher John Warren (IND) 634

Turnout 44.61%

Chew Valley — Lib Dem GAIN

Anna Victoria Box (LD) 1,104

Richard Peter Evershed (LAB) 168

Dave Harding (LD) 1,104

Guy Adrian Norfolk (GRN) 146

Victor Lewis Pritchard (CON) 694

Isobel Russell (GRN) 151

Jonathan Samuel Wallcroft (LAB) 104

Karen Ruth Warrington (CON) 576

Turnout 44.65%

Keynsham East — Lib Dem HOLD

Jo Davis (CON) 548

Derek Stephen Hart (LAB) 179

Rachel Eileen King (LAB) 185

Hal McFie (LD) 1,143

George Amanda Joy Morgan (CON) 548

Jennifer Peters (GRN) 166

Jo Taylor (GRN) 108

Andy Wait (LD) 1,191

Turnout 43.94%

Walcot — Lib Dem HOLD

Hannah Ruth Downey (CON) 299

Oli Henman (LD) 699

Dhruv Sachin Kadum (LAB) 431

Stuart Lawrence Kay (CON) 293

John Leach (LD) 571

Ben Mulhearn (GRN) 450

Paul Tom Edward Tucker (LAB) 456

Ross Turmel (GRN) 289

Turnout 42.36%

Widcombe & Lyncombe — Lib Dem HOLD

Lyn Barham (GRN) 387

Alison Patricia Sian Born (LD) 1,463

Priya Chathley (CON) 503

Deborah Joan Collins (LD) 1,288

Charlotte Goodfellow Foster (LAB) 197

Louisa Sarah McFarland (CON) 557

Christina Joan Ryan (LAB) 176

Ruth Shaw (GRN) 299

Turnout 50.50%

Keynsham North — Lib Dem GAIN

Alex Paul Beaumont (LD) 914

Edmund Stuart Cannon (GRN) 185

Christopger Jeffery Davis (LAB) 315

Justin Nigel Edwards (GRN) 147

Kai-Ashley Sean Vivian Fletcher (LAB) 234

George Leach (LD) 697

Brian Simmons (CON) 470

Allan Melville Sinclair (CON) 401

Turnout 34.82%

Combe Down — Lib Dem HOLD

Amy Alsop (GRN) 328

David Andrews (GRN) 164

Tom Battersby (LAB) 158

Bob Goodman (CON) 754

Steve Merrifield (CON) 672

Bharat Ramji Nathoo Pankhania (LD) 1,254

Onkar Saini (LD) 1,154

Marie Louise Youngman (LAB) 149

Turnout 46.15%

Odd Down — Lib Dem HOLD

Kathy Anne Beadle (GRN) 266

Jasper Becker (CON) 367

Michael James Clarkson (CON) 352

Mary Patricia Flitton (LAB) 196

Steve Hedges (LD) 1,000

Joel Edwin Hirst (LD) 989

Ellie Maher (GRN) 194

Liz Vincent (LAB) 193

Turnout 35.68%

Radstock — Labour HOLD & GAIN

Rupert Stephen Jude Bevan (CON) 237

Christopher John Dando (LAB) 527

Shaun Anthony goodwin (CON) 188

Liam Michael Kirby (GRN) 214

Lesley Ann Michael (LAB) 442

Hermionie Rose Peace (LD) 226

Bruce Andrew Shearn (LD) 330

Dom Tristram (GRN) 218

Turnout 28.12%

Midsomer Norton Redfield — Conservative HOLD

Sharon Grace Ball (LD) 134

Sarah Elizabeth Evans (CON) 518

Chris Griffiths (IND) 79

Claire Veronica Jackson (LD) 140

Annette Anox-Fraser (GRN) 85

Gordon Charles McKay (IND) 202

Anne Priest (LAB) 262

Pat Roscow (GRN) 72

Richard James Stelling (LAB) 324

Martin John Thatcher (IND) 274

Tim Warren (CON) 409

Turnout 26.54%

Bathavon South — Lib Dem HOLD

John Anthony Bull (LAB) 127

Anne Coghlan (GRN) 211

Chris Davies (CON) 567

Fiona Grace Gourley (LD) 1,039

Peter Gordon Hunt (CON) 535

Matt McCabe (LD) 1,028

Delyth Morris (LAB) 111

Martin Phillips (GRN) 179

Turnout 46.53%

Lambridge — Green HOLD & GAIN

Rob Appleyard (LD) 683

Paula Joan Black (LAB) 301

Steve Casemore (LAB) 275

David Michael Ferris (CON) 398

Saskia Heijtjes (GRN) 921

Alex Saunders (LD) 467

Paul Anthony Toombs (CON) 337

Joanna Wright (GRN) 1,120

Turnout 52.99%

Keynsham South — Labour GAIN & Conservative HOLD

Souzan Ibrahim Abdelnabi Alenshasy (LD) 172

David William Biddleston (LAB) 666

Daniel Patrick Condick (CON) 464

Olivia Ellen Copley (LAB) 520

Erica Mary Davies (GRN) 269

Alan Keith Greenfield (LD) 254

Alan Dudley Hale (CON) 668

Steve Murray (GRN) 160

Westmoreland — Independent HOLD

Nick Batt (GRN) 225

Colin David Blackburn (IND) 539

Stephanie Boxall (GRN) 165

Katherine Frances Hall (LD) 240

Cate Lewis (LAB) 119

Andrew Edwin Charles Pattie (CON) 99

June Player (IND) 839

Sasmita Rajhansha (LD) 309

Rebecca Ruth Simmons (LAB) 132

Lindsay Sally Whitmore (CON) 102

Turnout 40.76%

Bathwick — Lib Dem HOLD & GAIN

Lesley Kathleen Bees (LAB) 224

Michael Coffey (GRN) 347

Yukteshwar Kumar (CON) 712

Mark Patrick Mac Donnell (CON) 674

Kodi Damien Sean McBride (LAB) 227

Manda Rigby (LD) 1,304

Toby Simon (LD) 1,023

Katherine Snook (GRN) 251

Turnout 51.23%

Southdown — Lib Dem HOLD

Alex Avard (GRN) 213

David Andrew Blatchford (CON) 209

Paul Nigel Crossley (LD) 649

Lyn Jacobs (CON) 149

Ashley James Lewis (LAB) 187

Lisa Loveridge (GRN) 196

David William Musgrave (LAB) 228

Mark Ian Reynolds (IND) 543

Dine Romero (LD) 682

Paul Andrew Wakenshaw (IND) 480

Peasedown — Independent HOLD

Fiona Marie Carr (LAB) 343

Tex Clarke (LD) 95

Matt Cooper (GRN) 105

Julie Ann Goodwin (CON) 219

Gavin John Heathcote (IND) 504

David Konig (GRN) 97

Ray Love (LD) 126

Jonathan Paul Rich (LAB) 430

Karen Florence Walker (IND) 615

Turnout 29.44%

Westfield — Labour HOLD

Margaret Rose Brewer (CON) 207

Michael Evans (CON) 230

James Froud (GRN) 114

Eleanor Margaret Jackson (LAB) 579

Kiran Rupa Kataria (LD) 110

Olivia Leydenfrost (LD) 134

Robin Moss (LAB) 572

Florence Okowa (GRN) 100

Turnout 22.16%

Bathavon North — Lib Dem HOLD

Vicky Linda Drew (LAB) 245

Eleanor Field (GRN) 296

Leila Froud (GRN) 269

Kevin Ronald Guy (LD) 1,350

Peter Graham Sandell David (CON) 681

Dick Smith (LAB) 204

Martin John Beresford Veal (CON) 671

Elizabeth Sarah Warren (LD) 1,460

Turnout 48.56%

Newbridge — Lib Dem HOLD

Roger David Chapman (LAB) 257

Mattia Cuberli (CON) 466

Kelsey Hoppe (GRN) 250

Samantha Jane Kelly (LD) 895

Michelle Anne O’Doherty (LD) 1,048

Pam Richards (LAB) 282

Mohamed Sharaf (GRN) 170

David Miller Workman (CON) 469

Turnout 43.65%

Lansdown — Lib Dem HOLD

Justin Lawrence Draeger (CON) 712

Mark William Elliott (LD) 917

Lucy Jane Hodge (LD) 1023

John Stuart McStravick (LAB) 122

Susan Elizabeth Milner (LAB) 164

Tom Pateman (GRN) 174

Manuel Emilio Pimentel Reid (CON) 667

Grace Wiltshire (GRN) 219

Turnout 44.83%


Clutton & Farmborough — Sam Ross (Green)

Oldfield Park — Ian Halsall (Lib Dem)

High Littleton — Ann Margaret Morgan (Lib Dem)

Moorlands — Jess David (Lib Dem)

Timsbury — Shaun Andrew Stephenson-McGall (Lib Dem)

Publow & Whitchurch — Paul May (Lib Dem)

Mendip — David Wood (Lib Dem)

Midsomer Norton North — Shaun Hughes (Independent) and Michael Colin Douglas Auton (Lib Dem)

Twerton — Tim Ball (Lib Dem) and Sarah Jane Moore (Lib Dem)

Kingsmead — Paul Roper (Lib Dem) and George Oliver Tomlin (Lib Dem)

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