Labour gains and Conservatives reappear - but Lib Dems still control Watford Council (From Watford Observer)
Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting WO to 80360, or upload here
Labour gains and Conservatives reappear - but Lib Dems still control Watford Council
Labour's new Callowland councillors Sohail Bashir (right) and Seamus Williams (left) celebrate with re-elected Vicarage councillor Jagtar Singh Dhindsa.
Labour made three gains and the Conservatives reappeared on Watford’s political map in the borough elections.
It was also a bruising day for the Greens, who saw their presence at town hall reduced from three councillors to just one.
Despite the advance of opposition parties, the Liberal Democrats remained firmly in command of the borough. They lost one seat and defended all the others up for election - again proving resilient as the junior coalition party experienced largely disastrous across other parts of the country.
At the end of the count the Lib Dems were left with 23 of the borough’s 36 seats, Labour’s ranks swelled from eight to 11, while the Conservatives and Greens were left with one seat a piece.
The council holds its elections in thirds so only 13 seats, 12 plus one caused by a by-election, were on Thursday's ballot paper.
Following the count, Labour leader, Nigel Bell, said: “It is fantastic. We are now in a pole position to be the opposition to the Liberal Democrats and it has set up our parliamentary campaign.”
Senior Lib Dem councillor, Keith Crout, was also happy with his party’s performance.
Councillor Steve Johnson reacts to his election as a Liberal Democrat in Tudor
The biggest shift came in Callowland as Labour surged eight per cent to take seats off of the Greens, who slumped a massive 28 per cent.
"I’m very pleased,” he said. “I knew it would be a tough fight. The reason we have done that is the amount of work done in the last 4 years.
"If you get out on the doorstep and explain your policies, that's how you win elections."
There were two seats up for grabs in Callowland due to a by-election triggered by former Councillor Steve Rackett resigning from the borough.
Labour’s third gain came in the neighbouring Leggatts ward where Bilgees Mauthoor won 39 per cent of the vote to take a seat from the Liberal Democrats, who won 19 per cent.
The other noticeable battle was the Park ward where Independent Malcolm Meerabux made a failed bid for re-election.
Mr Meerabux was elected to the seat in 2010 as a Conservative but was ejected from the local party in 2012. He ended up coming third with 13 per cent of the vote, lagging behind the second place Lib Dem, Anne Rindl, who won 30 per cent.
Conservative Binita Mehta managed to re-establish a Conservative presence on the council by narrowly winning Park with 31 per cent of the vote. There has not been a Tory on the borough since Councillor Steve Johnson crossed the floor to the Liberal Democrats last year.
Councillor Mehta said: "I'm so proud and privileged to represent Park, my home ward. The fact that I was elected by my local residents to work on their behalf to make the area a better place is very humbling."
Councillor Mehta celebrates her victory.
Councillor Johnson, who had been a Leggatts councillor, secured his place on the council by winning for his new party in Tudor with commanding 40 per cent of the vote.
The UK Independence Party, which contested all 12 wards for the first time, failed to make a breakthrough in the borough. Although they did come second in a number of wards including Woodside, Stanborough, Tudor, and Meriden.
Comments are closed on this article.