The result of the 2013 local elections to the Norfolk County Council has left no party in overall control.
UKIP and Labour made sweeping gains winning 15 and 14 seats respectively. From previously holding only one seat on the County Council to establishing itself as the Council’s second largest party, UKIP will undoubtedly carry this momentum into next year’s European elections. The upheaval of the council’s political contours was underlined by the Conservatives losing 20 seats.
Nevertheless, the Conservatives securing the largest vote share of 32.6% will serve to qualify statements of a total shift in voter preferences in Norfolk. This is supplemented by the characteristically low turnout in local elections. Only 32% of those registered to vote the election cast their ballot.
Commenting upon the shift in the balance of power the leader of the Green group, Cllr Richard Bearman, said: “No longer can one party make all the big decisions on its own without proper debate and scrutiny”. The state of no overall control will see different groups on the council seeking to co-operate to keep others in check.
Local Labour Party activists will be heartened by the gains their party have made at the expense of the Green Party. The Labour Party won three seats previously held by the Green Party. Voters in the Town Close Ward returned a Labour councillor, with a 14.6% swing against the Green Party. Voters in the University again returned a Labour candidate to the County Council.