The Labour Party has retained control of Norwich City Council in the local elections, with the Green Party keeping its official opposition status and the Liberal Democrats holding on to their seats in Eaton Ward. In the ward containing UEA, Labour won both council seats up for election, with the Greens in second place.
While the results for the European Parliament cannot be expected until Monday 26th May, votes were tallied for the local elections on Friday 23rd May. Starting at 9am in The Open, the count went on for several hours, with suggestions throughout the day that the Greens might take an extra seat in University Ward and that UKIP might win their first council seat. The final vote tallies eventually showed no victory for UKIP, a fact welcomed by the Deputy Leader of the Labour Group, Cllr Alan Walters.
He said: “The political significance is that we’re a UKIP free zone. That’s to be celebrated… I’m not unhappy with the [political makeup of the council], and we’ll continue to push strong positive messages about what local councillors can do…. what we will do is continue to think about how we push positive messages on houses, jobs, security in tough times. I think we have to address some of the issues around Europe and immigration”.
While the Greens did not increase their seat count, they did succeed in winning Town Close, an area won by Labour in the County Council elections last year. Cllr Ash Haynes, the successful Green candidate in Town Close, said: “I think this shows that people do want to vote for something other than the three main parties. We’re the people that are out there all year round solving people’s problems…The Labour Party just aren’t providing an alternative to the Conservative government, and the Green Party are challenging them on the bedroom tax, on jobs and on the living wage.”
Norwich City Council is elected in thirds, with elections held every year. This year, 14 seats were up for election, including an extra seat in University Ward. Labour won 8 of the seats up for election, with the Green Party taking 5, the Lib Dems 1, the Conservatives none and UKIP none. This means that the Council is composed of 21 Labour councillors, 15 Greens, 3 Liberal Democrats, no Conservatives and no UKIP members – representing no change from the last City Council elections in 2012.
Across the UK, Labour have won the most council seats, with the Conservatives in second place and the Liberal Democrats in third. Results indicated a significant drop in the number of Liberal Democrat councillors, but major gains were made by UKIP with the party increasing its number of councillors by over 100. Nigel Farage has said that these gains prove that his party will be “serious players” in the 2015 general election.
Although not to the same extent as UKIP, the Greens also increased their seat count, with the party achieving a net increase of 23 councillors. Natalie Bennett, the leader of the Green Party, has spoken of her delight of the party’s progress in the elections and has claimed that they are now becoming a “national party”.
For full Norwich results, see our infographic below: