Labour warns of ‘tough times ahead’ after big win at Sheffield Council election

Returning Officer John Mothersole on the stage at EIS for the local election count results
Picture Dean Atkins
Returning Officer John Mothersole on the stage at EIS for the local election count results Picture Dean Atkins
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The people of Sheffield showed they were just about happy with their lot as only a few seats on the city council changed hands.

The big winners were the Lib Dems, who took two Labour seats in the Beauchief and Greenhill ward.

Elsewhere, Labour and the Green Party traded a seat each in Broomhill and Sharrow Vale, and Nether Edge and Sharrow.

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Turnout in Sheffield Council elections just 34.59 per cent.

Labour’s Julie Dore, who expects to continue as council leader after re-election in the Park and Arbourthorne ward, said it was a ‘resounding’ success for her party.

The local election count gets underway at Sheffield's English Institute of Sport
Paul Blomfield MP in conversation with Labour party colleagues
Picture Dean Atkins

The local election count gets underway at Sheffield's English Institute of Sport Paul Blomfield MP in conversation with Labour party colleagues Picture Dean Atkins

Coun Dore said it would be ‘interesting’ to see how the opposition held Labour to account, but added: “We set out our stall in 2011, when we were told austerity would only last for that parliament and we all expected four years later we would see the end of it.

“We have got extremely difficult times ahead. But we have shown and demonstrated that we can protect and support communities by having a Fairness Commission, setting up Sheffield Money and creating an apprenticeship scheme.

“But at the same time we have demonstrated we are ambitious.”

Coun Dore said there were some big announcements to come in the next few months.

The local election count gets underway at Sheffield's English Institute of Sport
Picture Dean Atkins

The local election count gets underway at Sheffield's English Institute of Sport Picture Dean Atkins

Former council leader and current peer Paul Scriven was one of three Lib Dems elected in Ecclesall. He said the party’s gains showed the people of Sheffield were slowly putting their trust back in the Lib Dems, and promised to send a clear message to the ‘arrogant’ Labour group about issues such as tree felling and buses.

“They have got to take a stop check on this and think very seriously about changing what that are doing and stop steamrollering communities who are being told what’s going to happen to them.”

The Green Party looked to be heading for a loss when Brian Wesbster lost his seat to Labour in the Broomhill and Sharrow Vale ward. But late in the afternoon the Greens’ Alison Teal won a seat back from Labour in the Nether Edge and Sharrow ward, following a recount.

Coun Teal admitted the new boundary of her ward, which encompasses Green-leaning Sharrow, had helped her campaign.

Local Election Count 2016
Labours Lisa Banes, Terry Fox and Pat Midgley celebrate on stage after being elected at EIS
Picture Dean Atkins

Local Election Count 2016 Labours Lisa Banes, Terry Fox and Pat Midgley celebrate on stage after being elected at EIS Picture Dean Atkins

She said: “We have been working hard for many years and at the last two elections we have done quite well. It’s been a steady gain.

“When we have been speaking to people on the doorstep they are very interested in the ideas we have, such as recording council meetings.

“There is a high level of distrust because of the trees issue and bus changes. People were feeling like they wanted a change.”

Ukip held onto their four seats and could easily have had two more. The count in West Ecclesfield was so close that a tie-breaker vote was all that separated Labour’s Zoe Sykes in third place from Ukip’s David Ogle in fourth. And in the Stocksbridge and Upper Don ward, Ukip’s third candidate there, Graeme Waddicar, lost out to Labour’s Richard Crowther by just three votes.

Coun John Booker, who was re-elected in West Ecclesfield, called it a ‘bloody battle’. He said: “That was heartbreaking for David Ogle. He got it all level and then to put your name in a hat and lose is very upsetting.”

Coun Booker said Ukip councillors were there to help the people in their wards, adding: “To win again in a second term when it was such a confusing ballot sheet, we can certainly be proud of ourselves.”

Labour supporters including Jackie Longley celebrate as mor Councillors are returned forllowing the local elections
Picture Dean Atkins

Labour supporters including Jackie Longley celebrate as mor Councillors are returned forllowing the local elections Picture Dean Atkins