‘Heartbreak’ for Labour in Sheffield elections

The people of Sheffield have spoken and the local election results are in.

Friday, 3rd May 2019, 4:54 pm
Updated Friday, 3rd May 2019, 4:56 pm
Ian Saunders pictured after its announced he has lost his Beighton seat to Liberal Democrat Bob McKann. Ian had been a councillor since 1984 and was the council's heritage champion. Picture: Marie Caley

It was ‘heartbreak’ for the ruling party Labour who lost some long standing councillors while the Liberal Democrats and Green Party made gains.

There was a low turnout across the city at just 31.6 percent. In total, Labour lost five seats and gained one, Liberal Democrats gained four, Green Party were up two and Ukip lost two.

Liberal Democrats pictured celebrating. Picture: Marie Caley

Labour still have a comfortable majority with 49 out of 84 seats but there will now be some serious reflection for the group over the coming months.

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One senior Labour source said: “I never thought we would do this badly in Sheffield.”

Another Labour insider said they were one of the worst performing Labour groups out of the core cities nationally in this local election.

There were some teary eyes among the party who said goodbye to councillors including Ian Saunders who has served since 1984 and was the council’s heritage champion.

Lord Mayor of SHeffield Magid Magid, pictured celebrating with members of the Green party. Picture: Marie Caley

Cabinet members put their losses down to it being a “protest vote” against the national party.

Councillor Julie Dore, leader of Sheffield City Council, said they would be having “serious conversations” going forwards and added: “I’m extremely disappointed that we have lost some very long serving, committed and dedicated councillors.

“It does seem to be a very serious protest vote against the Conservatives and our party nationally, and therefore votes go to other parties. It’s the pattern across the country but the people of Sheffield have spoken and we need to sit up and listen, analyse why people voted the way they did and look inwards to see what we can improve on.

“We will continue to do our best for the city despite the extremely difficult circumstances we have faced over the past decade of austerity which has left us with 50 percent of the money we had when the coalition government came into power.

“We did expect a couple of seats to be close so it hasn’t come as a big surprise but it is disappointing.”

Coun Mazher Iqbal, cabinet for business and investment, said: “It’s heartbreaking to lose long standing colleagues but as it was said on the doorstep up and down this country that nationally politicians aren’t listening.

“We try and keep it on local issues but people are fed up that Brexit hasn’t been resolved so for me that’s the rider on all of this.”

Coun Shaffaq Mohammed, leader of the Liberal Democrats, said it was a “fabulous” result for them and added: “It’s a clear message to Julie Dore that the way things are can’t carry on, we’ve had too much of a top-down approach and people want change, and have voted for it. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens now at the Town Hall with a stronger opposition.”

Coun Rob Murphy, speaker for the Green Party who is stepping down after 11 years, said: “It’s been a good day for the Greens all round. We had an indication that we would get some wins but the size and majority has been absolutely amazing.

“I think we are good councillors and this shows an appreciation for the things we’ve done, I also think the main parties have been hit by indecision over Brexit.

“I’m looking forward to relaxing a little bit, so I’m going to take a deep breath and avoid too many evening meetings for a while before deciding what to do next.”

Green councillors also said goodbye to Lord Mayor Magid Magid who is leaving to run in the European Elections.

Fellow party member, Angela Argenzio won his seat in Broomhill and Sharrow Vale ward with 58 percent of the vote. Magid said: “All across the city our vote share has gone up massively so it’s really exciting. I’m definitely going to miss it but I will always be campaigning – whether as an MEP or a normal citizen.”

There will be big celebrations for the Liberal Democrats and Greens while Labour reflect on their result. Sheffield has spoken and the ruling council now must answer.