Labour gains and Conservatives reappear - but Lib Dems still control Watford Council

Watford Observer: Labour's new Callowland councillors Sohail Bashir (right) and Seamus Williams (left) celebrate with re-elected Vicarage councillor Jagtar Singh Dhindsa. 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.

Watford Observer:

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."

Watford Observer:

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 (12)

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10:34am Sat 24 May 14

pietas says...

UKIP did not come 2nd in Central, they came 4th.
UKIP did not come 2nd in Central, they came 4th. pietas
  • Score: 6

11:02am Sat 24 May 14

Wacko Jacko says...

Notice the deafening silence from Cox, Penn and the other UKIP cronies who have been all over these comments pages for the past year or so. What a pleasant change. Face it UKIP Watford doesn't want your politics of hate, it's time to crawl back under the stone you came from.
Notice the deafening silence from Cox, Penn and the other UKIP cronies who have been all over these comments pages for the past year or so. What a pleasant change. Face it UKIP Watford doesn't want your politics of hate, it's time to crawl back under the stone you came from. Wacko Jacko
  • Score: 5

3:54pm Sat 24 May 14

Cuetip says...

Congrats to Labour who continue to gain in strength and are in far stronger position as we race to the General Election of 2015.

The Tories fearing UKIP slashes, obscenely neglected 11 out of the 12 wards and threw everything they had at affluent Park as shown by their pitiful performance in other wards. They seem to believe exclusivity is attractive like a compelling feature of paradise because so many wards are unworthy and cannot be accomodated. UKIP will continue to feed on this neglect, this desire-less-ness in the next 12 months as shown by their achievements up and down the country.

Unbuoyed by Tory defections to Liberal safe houses, Labour showed they can take Callowland and Leggatts with ease and will be after more wards where the heart beat of the nation's workers is being ripped out by rising costs of living.

In many areas, parking is highly contentious and we are now moving into new ground as public space is being fought over as if it were private to be commercialised for coinage.
Congrats to Labour who continue to gain in strength and are in far stronger position as we race to the General Election of 2015. The Tories fearing UKIP slashes, obscenely neglected 11 out of the 12 wards and threw everything they had at affluent Park as shown by their pitiful performance in other wards. They seem to believe exclusivity is attractive like a compelling feature of paradise because so many wards are unworthy and cannot be accomodated. UKIP will continue to feed on this neglect, this desire-less-ness in the next 12 months as shown by their achievements up and down the country. Unbuoyed by Tory defections to Liberal safe houses, Labour showed they can take Callowland and Leggatts with ease and will be after more wards where the heart beat of the nation's workers is being ripped out by rising costs of living. In many areas, parking is highly contentious and we are now moving into new ground as public space is being fought over as if it were private to be commercialised for coinage. Cuetip
  • Score: 3

8:07pm Sat 24 May 14

audentior01923 says...

Cuetip wrote:
Congrats to Labour who continue to gain in strength and are in far stronger position as we race to the General Election of 2015.

The Tories fearing UKIP slashes, obscenely neglected 11 out of the 12 wards and threw everything they had at affluent Park as shown by their pitiful performance in other wards. They seem to believe exclusivity is attractive like a compelling feature of paradise because so many wards are unworthy and cannot be accomodated. UKIP will continue to feed on this neglect, this desire-less-ness in the next 12 months as shown by their achievements up and down the country.

Unbuoyed by Tory defections to Liberal safe houses, Labour showed they can take Callowland and Leggatts with ease and will be after more wards where the heart beat of the nation's workers is being ripped out by rising costs of living.

In many areas, parking is highly contentious and we are now moving into new ground as public space is being fought over as if it were private to be commercialised for coinage.
Are you not going to congratulate Binita ?
[quote][p][bold]Cuetip[/bold] wrote: Congrats to Labour who continue to gain in strength and are in far stronger position as we race to the General Election of 2015. The Tories fearing UKIP slashes, obscenely neglected 11 out of the 12 wards and threw everything they had at affluent Park as shown by their pitiful performance in other wards. They seem to believe exclusivity is attractive like a compelling feature of paradise because so many wards are unworthy and cannot be accomodated. UKIP will continue to feed on this neglect, this desire-less-ness in the next 12 months as shown by their achievements up and down the country. Unbuoyed by Tory defections to Liberal safe houses, Labour showed they can take Callowland and Leggatts with ease and will be after more wards where the heart beat of the nation's workers is being ripped out by rising costs of living. In many areas, parking is highly contentious and we are now moving into new ground as public space is being fought over as if it were private to be commercialised for coinage.[/p][/quote]Are you not going to congratulate Binita ? audentior01923
  • Score: 1

12:59am Sun 25 May 14

D_Penn says...

Wacko Jacko wrote:
Notice the deafening silence from Cox, Penn and the other UKIP cronies who have been all over these comments pages for the past year or so. What a pleasant change. Face it UKIP Watford doesn't want your politics of hate, it's time to crawl back under the stone you came from.
If there is one thing I cannot stand it is somebody who is rude and ignorant. Your last sentence gives away just the sort of person you really are. You unashamedly go for gutter-level political statements by being insulting and offensive. Be warned though, gloating arrogance is often followed by a swift fall and your support can drain away faster than you might imagine.

Our amazing success in taking so many second places from nothing shows how ridiculous your statement that 'Watford doesn't want your politics of hate' is. Clearly many Watford residents are smarter than you and recognise that such slurs are wholly untrue. UKIP had thousands of Watford residents vote for us which is almost unbelievable considering that this is the first time we have stood in all the wards. Clearly all these people do want UKIP. I find it quite disgusting that you should insult these supporters by saying they should all 'crawl back under the stone they came from'.


The LibDems have the money to push their propaganda sheets through letterboxes regularly. They have control of the council and any public reports and information sheets produced are always slanted to make them look good.
The have a slick election machine that ensures they maximise their vote.

Self promotion is what the LibDems do best and we know we have to counter all the propaganda to win. But make no mistake, we have not gone away. We have barely scratched the surface of the votes we can capture. There are significant numbers who have yet to understand that the smears and slurs that they have heard about UKIP are untrue. When they do and realise that people like you who go around using phrases such as "politics of hate" are shameless twisters of the truth for your own political ends, they too will vote UKIP.

Be assured, UKIP's fight to being openess, decency and honesty back into politics has not ended. It has only just begun.
[quote][p][bold]Wacko Jacko[/bold] wrote: Notice the deafening silence from Cox, Penn and the other UKIP cronies who have been all over these comments pages for the past year or so. What a pleasant change. Face it UKIP Watford doesn't want your politics of hate, it's time to crawl back under the stone you came from.[/p][/quote]If there is one thing I cannot stand it is somebody who is rude and ignorant. Your last sentence gives away just the sort of person you really are. You unashamedly go for gutter-level political statements by being insulting and offensive. Be warned though, gloating arrogance is often followed by a swift fall and your support can drain away faster than you might imagine. Our amazing success in taking so many second places from nothing shows how ridiculous your statement that 'Watford doesn't want your politics of hate' is. Clearly many Watford residents are smarter than you and recognise that such slurs are wholly untrue. UKIP had thousands of Watford residents vote for us which is almost unbelievable considering that this is the first time we have stood in all the wards. Clearly all these people do want UKIP. I find it quite disgusting that you should insult these supporters by saying they should all 'crawl back under the stone they came from'. The LibDems have the money to push their propaganda sheets through letterboxes regularly. They have control of the council and any public reports and information sheets produced are always slanted to make them look good. The have a slick election machine that ensures they maximise their vote. Self promotion is what the LibDems do best and we know we have to counter all the propaganda to win. But make no mistake, we have not gone away. We have barely scratched the surface of the votes we can capture. There are significant numbers who have yet to understand that the smears and slurs that they have heard about UKIP are untrue. When they do and realise that people like you who go around using phrases such as "politics of hate" are shameless twisters of the truth for your own political ends, they too will vote UKIP. Be assured, UKIP's fight to being openess, decency and honesty back into politics has not ended. It has only just begun. D_Penn
  • Score: -2

1:00am Sun 25 May 14

D_Penn says...

pietas wrote:
UKIP did not come 2nd in Central, they came 4th.
We came second in Holywell though.
[quote][p][bold]pietas[/bold] wrote: UKIP did not come 2nd in Central, they came 4th.[/p][/quote]We came second in Holywell though. D_Penn
  • Score: 0

6:31am Sun 25 May 14

ancientandageing says...

Many congratulations to the new councillors

Seamus Williams
Binita Mehta
Sohail Bashir

Good luck to them all.
I especially hope the passion the youngsters have shown campaigning is reflected in their commitment to constituents going forward.
Many congratulations to the new councillors Seamus Williams Binita Mehta Sohail Bashir Good luck to them all. I especially hope the passion the youngsters have shown campaigning is reflected in their commitment to constituents going forward. ancientandageing
  • Score: 6

9:06am Sun 25 May 14

D_Penn says...

ancientandageing wrote:
Many congratulations to the new councillors

Seamus Williams
Binita Mehta
Sohail Bashir

Good luck to them all.
I especially hope the passion the youngsters have shown campaigning is reflected in their commitment to constituents going forward.
Something we can both agree on at last.

Whatever our political differences, I'm sure those elected really want to make things better. I hope they remember that any of us should only be in politics to help the people we represent. I fear too many get dragged into the party machine and council bureaucracy over time. It seems one of the problems facing modern democracy.

Nevertheless, I hope they all suceed in the roles they are taking up. I wish them all well.
[quote][p][bold]ancientandageing[/bold] wrote: Many congratulations to the new councillors Seamus Williams Binita Mehta Sohail Bashir Good luck to them all. I especially hope the passion the youngsters have shown campaigning is reflected in their commitment to constituents going forward.[/p][/quote]Something we can both agree on at last. Whatever our political differences, I'm sure those elected really want to make things better. I hope they remember that any of us should only be in politics to help the people we represent. I fear too many get dragged into the party machine and council bureaucracy over time. It seems one of the problems facing modern democracy. Nevertheless, I hope they all suceed in the roles they are taking up. I wish them all well. D_Penn
  • Score: -5

10:53am Sun 25 May 14

LocalBoy1 says...

Make the most of it Lib Dems in Watford. Your party is almost finished. Lib Dems are calling for Clegg to give up and throw the towel in.
Make the most of it Lib Dems in Watford. Your party is almost finished. Lib Dems are calling for Clegg to give up and throw the towel in. LocalBoy1
  • Score: -1

2:06pm Sun 25 May 14

WatfordAlex says...

To be fair UKIP did a lot better than I expected. I saw Cox finishing 5th originally, but the combination of the Greens not standing and the Conservatives seemingly not doing any mayoral campaigning helped him achieve a respectable result. Last week is likely to represent the high water mark for UKIP (same date as euro elections) but I don't think they will implode in the same way the BNP did previously due to their membership being different (they may share voters, but the leadership is clearly not the same).

Worth remembering that for all the media attention UKIP are getting, they still don't have a single MP or run a single Council; unlike the Green Party, who the media have largely ignored recently.

Best post-election quote (from a UKIP party spokesperson!): "Discussing the party's relatively poor performance in London on Radio 4, Suzanne Evans seemed to agree with the host that they had difficulty appealing to the "educated, cultural and young."
To be fair UKIP did a lot better than I expected. I saw Cox finishing 5th originally, but the combination of the Greens not standing and the Conservatives seemingly not doing any mayoral campaigning helped him achieve a respectable result. Last week is likely to represent the high water mark for UKIP (same date as euro elections) but I don't think they will implode in the same way the BNP did previously due to their membership being different (they may share voters, but the leadership is clearly not the same). Worth remembering that for all the media attention UKIP are getting, they still don't have a single MP or run a single Council; unlike the Green Party, who the media have largely ignored recently. Best post-election quote (from a UKIP party spokesperson!): "Discussing the party's relatively poor performance in London on Radio 4, Suzanne Evans seemed to agree with the host that they had difficulty appealing to the "educated, cultural and young." WatfordAlex
  • Score: 5

2:25pm Sun 25 May 14

WatfordAlex says...

Most interesting result from an apolitical perspective was in Callowland. Chief prophet of the local atheist evangelicals, a certain Mr Dowdle, tried to get elected. In the end Dowdle got only half the votes of his rival, despite the fact that the party he was standing for had previously won the seat by that same margin. Clearly the good people of Watford don't like the mean spirited intolerance exhibited by Dowdle (and LSC, Popeonarope, Bishop of Watford) on these very pages!
Most interesting result from an apolitical perspective was in Callowland. Chief prophet of the local atheist evangelicals, a certain Mr Dowdle, tried to get elected. In the end Dowdle got only half the votes of his rival, despite the fact that the party he was standing for had previously won the seat by that same margin. Clearly the good people of Watford don't like the mean spirited intolerance exhibited by Dowdle (and LSC, Popeonarope, Bishop of Watford) on these very pages! WatfordAlex
  • Score: 5

5:10pm Mon 26 May 14

Cuetip says...

Wacko Jacko wrote:
Notice the deafening silence from Cox, Penn and the other UKIP cronies who have been all over these comments pages for the past year or so. What a pleasant change. Face it UKIP Watford doesn't want your politics of hate, it's time to crawl back under the stone you came from.
This is rather simplistic and panders to the a further polarisation of opinions. You well know after your experiences with the Conservative candidate Ian Oakley who was convicted of all manner of criminal offences against the Liberals that the politics of hate can be found in any group.

The fact is that all parties are riddled with all sorts of prejudices and are not wonderful examples of diversity.

As regards PC policies on equality having any relevance to political parties, you might as well whistle in the wind as think they are immune.

It's about time you look at your own backyard as opposed to protraying yourself as 'whiter than white'.

Have you noticed how leaders are now toning down their naming and shaming of voters who voted UKIP and I wonder why?
[quote][p][bold]Wacko Jacko[/bold] wrote: Notice the deafening silence from Cox, Penn and the other UKIP cronies who have been all over these comments pages for the past year or so. What a pleasant change. Face it UKIP Watford doesn't want your politics of hate, it's time to crawl back under the stone you came from.[/p][/quote]This is rather simplistic and panders to the a further polarisation of opinions. You well know after your experiences with the Conservative candidate Ian Oakley who was convicted of all manner of criminal offences against the Liberals that the politics of hate can be found in any group. The fact is that all parties are riddled with all sorts of prejudices and are not wonderful examples of diversity. As regards PC policies on equality having any relevance to political parties, you might as well whistle in the wind as think they are immune. It's about time you look at your own backyard as opposed to protraying yourself as 'whiter than white'. Have you noticed how leaders are now toning down their naming and shaming of voters who voted UKIP and I wonder why? Cuetip
  • Score: 0

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