Landslide victory for Labour


IT was a landslide victory for Wakefield’s Labour party at this year’s local government election.

The party won 20 of the 21 seats up for grabs, retaining eight of their own and stealing nine from the Conservatives.

The independent councillors lost all three of their seats.

Coun Peter Box retained his Altofts and Whitwood seat with 2,009 votes, and his role of council leader as 62 per cent of the electorate voted against plans for an elected mayor.

Coun Box said: “I’m very pleased with the gains Labour has made. We’ve tried to invest in the future of the district and its people but there are also serious national issues at play.”

Conservative party leader Mark Crowther was one of the nine Tory casualties.

He lost his Pontefract South seat to Labour candidate Celia Loughran who won with 2,222 votes compared to Mr Crowther’s 1,617.

He said: “It’s a massive disappointment but when you take the national picture into account I’m not surprised.

“I think our government have a lot to answer for, they need to get their policies in order and stop messing amount making stupid decisions.

“This is about getting more competent people in at ministerial level.”

Conservative strong-hold Ackworth, North Elmsall and Upton switched to Labour control after Martyn Ward took the seat.

Another Labour gain saw Paula Sherriff winning the Pontefract North seat.

Labour also retained five seats in wards across four of the Five Towns.

June Cliffe took Featherstone with a huge 2,649 votes to just 516 Conservative votes.

The Sharlston parish councillor said: “I’m absolutely thrilled, it’s been a super journey and I have a lot of people to thank, especially the people of Featherstone who have put their confidence in me.”

Long-standing councillor Mark Burns-Williamson, held onto his Castleford and Glass Houghton seat.

He retained the faith of the residents he has served since 1998, winning with 2,306 votes against 482 UKIP votes and 235 Conservative votes.

Labour also held onto seats in the wards of Airedale and Ferry Fryston, and Knottingley.

And the party strengthened its control of the council with a majority of 41.

The council is now made up 52 Labour seats and just 11 Conservative seats.

Only 28.94 per cent of Wakefield‘s electorate turned out to vote yesterday (Thursday).

It is the lowest turn out in recent years with just one in four people casting a vote out of the 254,961 people living in the district who are eligible to vote.