Great Britain

Council leader reacts to election results in Bradford

BRADFORD Council's Leader has said she was pleased that the local Labour Party performed better in Bradford than it did nationally.

As the results of Thursday's elections came in, it was clear it would not be positive for Labour nationally, with the party losing several Councils and the Hartlepool constituency.

While there were some big losses for Labour in Bradford, the party retained its majority. It emerged from the 2021 election with just one fewer Councillors, 51, than it had immediately after the 2019 election.

One loss for the party was in Keighley West, where Executive member Adrian Farley lost his seat by just 6 votes to Conservative candidate Ann Glentworth.

And Labour Councillor Rosie Watson lost her Wyke seat to the Conservative's Joan Clarke.

But the party did take the Bingley seat that was up for grabs, with Marcus Peter Dearden unseating Conservative Councillor John Pennington - who had been the leader of the party until October.

After the results were announced, Bradford Council Leader Susan Hinchcliffe said: "Looking at the national picture, I’m pleased that Labour has done better in Bradford district than in other parts of the country.

"I want to thank the people of the district for putting their faith in us to lead again through challenging times.

"Winning a Tory seat in Bingley shows that we are still making new gains for Labour in Tory heartlands.

"Naturally I am sad to lose Councillor Adrian Farley and Councillor Rosie Watson, both of whom are exceptional councillors who have served their constituents with the utmost integrity and dedication over the last few years. They deserve our thanks and I hope they will continue to contribute to civic life.

"Now we need to quickly get on with the job of post pandemic recovery, creating jobs and regenerating our towns and cities.

"We will work in partnership with the new Metro Mayor of West Yorkshire to deliver better times ahead."

Councillor Rebecca Poulsen, leader of the Conservatives on Bradford Council, claimed the Labour group had taken their support in some Bradford constituencies for granted.

BRADFORD COUNCIL ELECTION - Full Results from today's count as Labour retain control

The party gained a number of seats, with three being gains from independent candidates

Cllr Poulsen said: “I am delighted to be welcoming seven new Conservative Councillors to join us on Bradford MDC.

"They have all campaigned passionately to represent their communities and be strong voices at City Hall.

"Across the District we have run local campaigns for each local area with a strong team of local candidates.

"Without exception we set out a positive vision for the future which chimed with the electorate. I’d like to thank everyone who supported our candidates and for those who didn’t support us we will renew our efforts so you do next time.

"Naturally we didn’t win everywhere and will reflect on the reasons behind that and ensure we learn lessons for the elections next year.

"We ran Labour very close in places like Keighley East, Bowling and Barkerend and Windhill and Wrose and we will be continuing our campaigning there to build trust and show how we can better deliver than Labour who have taken them for granted for far too long.”

One big winner this year was Matt Edwards, the Green Party candidate who gained a seat in the Tong ward - an area that usually votes Labour.

The biggest talking points of this year's Bradford Council election

It brings the number of Green councillors in Bradford to three - the other two being in Shipley, where Green Councillor Martin Love retained his seat with a huge majority.

Councillor said his victory showed that support for the party was not limited to leafy suburbs, pointing out that the Tong ward contains the District's two biggest Council estates.

After the result was announced he said: "It shows that in general people are fed up with the main parties and want an alternative. That alternative doesn't need to be the far right."

Plans for thousands of houses in fields in the Tong area had caused controversy, but added: "It is not just about Green Belt issues. People in Council houses are not getting repairs done to their homes, and raise issues like fly tipping in their area.

"People are not just tired of Labour, they are tired of being ignored by National politics, and that shows in Tong where there wasn't a swing to the Tories."

One of the big Labour gains was in Bolton and Undercliffe, where Si Cunningham, Chair of Bradford Civic Society, took the seat from sitting Independent Councillor and former Bradford East MP David Ward.

Cllr Cunningham said: “I’m absolutely thrilled that the people of Bolton and Undercliffe have put their trust in me to be their representative at City Hall. I’m chuffed that I’ll now get to play a greater role in the future of some of our most historic places, like Undercliffe Cemetery and Peel Park.

"We ran an overwhelmingly positive campaign, focussing not on politics, but on those little everyday things that will help make life better for people.”

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