There was a distinct sense of anticlimax at Leeds Town Hall earlier today as voters delivered no change at all to the city’s political map.
The overall turnout in the 2016 Leeds local elections was 34.5 percent, on a par with previous years, apart from General Election years.
Just 185,616 people voted out of a total electorate of 538,012.
After the vote, the make-up of the city council remains completely unchanged. The overall political composition is Labour 63 seats; Conservative 19 seats; Lib Dem 9 seats; Morley Borough Independents 5 seats and Green 3 seats.
Every seat being contested was held by the sitting party, although there was a strong charge from UKIP and a quietly resurgent Lib Dem party in a number of wards.
UKIP was second in 11 wards, with a particularly good performance in Armley that was still not enough to unseat long-serving Labour councillor Alison Lowe.
In the biggest ward in Leeds, City and Hunslet, Green party candidate Ed Carlisle gave sitting candidate Elizabeth Nash a real fight, bolstered by an energetic campaign focusing on claims of inaction by the existing Labour councillors. But in the end, councillor Nash retained her seat comfortably with a margin of more than 1,000 votes.
Mr Carlisle said afterwards that he would consider running for election again.
In Rothwell, a 20 per cent swing from the Tories to the Lib Dems came agonisingly close. However Labour’s David Nagle retained the seat by just 300 votes.
Andrew Carter, leader of the Conservative group, retained his own seat in Calverley and Farsley comfortably. Other big wins came for Lucinda Yeadon, deputy leader of the council, and long serving Beeston and Holbeck councillor Angela Gabriel.
Among a crop of newly elected debutant councillors was Al Garthwaite, who won in Headingley, and Salma Arif, who scored the biggest majority of the election - more than 3,500 votes. The 29-year-old now joins a swathe of young guns at Leeds City Council, and said she was looking forward to joining the “20s team”.
Stewart Golton, leader of the Lib Dem group, said his party’s “local commitment” had been “recognised by the electorate”, after all nine Lib Dem seats were held.
And pledging to keep providing a robust opposition to Labour’s iron grip on Leeds, he added; “We may not be the official opposition but we have kept the Labour party on its toes on important issues, and we will carry on doing that”.