Labour clings to control in Rotherham as Tories win 20 seats
The results are in for Rotherham’s local elections and Labour has just managed to cling on to control of the council by two seats.
The Conservatives won 20 seats on Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council to form the largest opposition party.
Labour only just held on to their majority with 32 seats – just two more than the 30 needed to stay in control of the council.
Dinnington saw a big swing, with three Labour councillors unseated by three Conservatives.
Conservative Emily Barley won the Hoober seat from Labour with 873 votes. Just one vote pushed her over the finishing line, after two recounts.
She told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “We are delighted. We hoped we’d make gains, but this was more than we expected. This gives us a bigger platform to hold Labour to account.”
The Conservatives made the gains, which is even more of an achievement, considering the last seat they held was in 2016.
Amongst Labour’s losses were the deputy leader Gordon Watson, the mayor’s consort Jeanette Mallinder and John Vjestica who sat on numerous committees including planning, standards and ethics and licensing.
However, Labour still took the majority and retained overall hold of the council, which was cemented following the election of councillors Alan Atkin and Sheila Cowen for Wath.
Councillor Cowen said she hopes to be the “voice of the people.” adding: “So many have gone without for so long, and get rid of the apathy in the area.”
For the first time in five years, all seats on Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council (RMBC) were up for grabs in this local election.
Voters took to the polls on May 6 to elect borough councillors for all 59 wards, reduced from 63 wards following a boundary review in 2018.
The Liberal Democrats won three seats – Coun Adam Carter retained his Brinsworth seat with 1,345 votes, closely followed by wife Charlotte Carter, also winning a seat for the party with 1,108. The husband and wife team now hold both seats for the ward.
The party also gained a seat in Rother Vale, with the election of Firas Miro with 551 votes – unseating Labour’s Bob Walsh, vice-chair, audit committee
The Rotherham Democratic Party suffered the loss of long-standing councillors Brian Cutts and John Turner, both unseated by Conservatives for the Thurcroft and Wickersley South ward.
The party did gain a seat from Labour in Rotherham West, and now have three seats in total.
Lib Dem candidate for Kilnhurst and Swinton East, Luke Binney, says although he was not elected, it was worth standing, to give people a change to vote Lib Dem. At the age of 21, he says if younger people are interested in politics, they should “take the step”
Labour Councillor Stuart Sansome was elected to the newly-formed Kilnhurst and Swinton East ward, alongside fellow Labour candidate Victoria Cusworth.
Councillor Sansome said he became a councillor because he “wanted to make a difference for people less fortunate”.
On Labour’s losses nationally, Councillor Sansome added that Labour need to “listen to people, to convince them we are the people they can trust.”
Ben Aveyard, new Labour councillor for Rotherham West says that the campaign as been “awkward” this year, and that he will focus on bringing communities together, the level of car crime in the ward, and isolated older people.