Labour loses control of Sheffield Council

The Green Party and Liberal Democrats pushed Sheffield Council to no overall control in a devastating day for Labour at the local elections.

By Molly Williams and Lucy Ashton
Friday, 7th May 2021, 6:50 pm

It was a dramatic count at the English Institute of Sport that saw Sheffield Labour not only lose control of the council after a decade but lose its leader Bob Johnson who failed to defend his seat in Hillsborough.

The first Conservative councillor in Sheffield for two decades was also voted in. Lewis Chinchen will represent Stocksbridge and Upper Don ward which is within the constituency of Conservative MP Miriam Cates.

Turnout was up across almost every ward in Sheffield compared to the last local election in 2019, with the highest turnout being 54 percent in Ecclesall ward where the Liberal Democrats held its seat with a 736 majority.

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Sheffield City Council election count 2021. The Green Party celebrating. Picture: Chris Etchells

The lowest turnout was in City ward at 18 percent, but this was up by four percent on the last local election.

Councillor Douglas Johnson, leader of the Green Party, said: "We have had six good wins, my seat was defended and five new councillors for the Green group in Sheffield - that is a fantastic set of people and a fantastic outcome for the election and hopefully a really good result for the city.

"Hopefully it is a step in transforming how the council is going to run, so I'm really looking forward to that."

Councillor Shaffaq Mohammed, leader of the Liberal Democrats, said: "It was totally unpredictable, we went into this election not knowing what Covid would do, what effect it would have with national and local issues coming into play and now this council is in no overall control."

Sheffield City Council election count 2021. Ann Woolhouse took the Beighton seat for the Lib Dems. Picture: Chris Etchells

Counters spread out across the athletics track and basketball courts and sat behind protective screens at EISS as a restricted number of candidates scrutinised the process and eagerly awaited the results.

Ward by ward, council chief executive and returning officer Kate Josephs stood on stage alone and announced who had won each seat.

Overall, Labour lost eight seats, five to the Green Party and three to the Liberal Democrats.

The new makeup of the council is: Labour, 41 councillors, Liberal Democrats, 29, Green Party 13 and Conservatives one.

Sheffield City Council election count 2021. Shaffaq Mohammed, Lib Dems. Picture: Chris Etchells

Exactly how no overall control will work for the council going forward is yet to be decided. Councillor Mohammed called it a "new dawn for Sheffield" and Coun Johnson said elected members will need to have a breather over the weekend before thinking how to proceed next.

It was the first local elections since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, as last year’s race was cancelled due to the virus.

As well as city councillors, residents voted on a referendum on how the council is run and for a police and crime commissioner for South Yorkshire.

Some in Ecclesfield also voted for parish councillors and those living in Broomhill, Broomfield, Endcliffe, Summerfield or Tapton voted on a referendum on whether to adopt a neighbourhood plan.

Sheffield City Council election count 2021. Lewis Chinchen took the Stocksbridge seat for the Conservatives. Picture: Chris Etchells

The results of the referendums and police and crime commissioner will be announced on Monday, May 10.

Sheffield City Council election count 2021. The Lib Dems celebrating. Picture: Chris Etchells