so much for predictions. What was meant to be one of the most uninspiring and confused election results in recent history instead turned out to be the catalyst for a fundamental reshaping of the political landscape.
SO much for predictions. What was meant to be one of the most uninspiring and confused election results in recent history instead turned out to be the catalyst for a fundamental reshaping of the political landscape.
Hopes that Ed Miliband could overcome the odds to form a Labour government proved unfounded as David Cameron secured a majority that must have surprised even him.
Was the election won and lost right here in Leeds? Certainly Mr Miliband’s insistence during the Question Time debate at the Town Hall a week ago that Labour didn’t overspend during its 13 years in power was proof for some that lessons had not been learned.
In terms of the city’s MPs the only real shock was Ed Balls’ defeat to Conservative Andrea Jenkyns in Morley and Outwood. But the winner’s speech was significant in that Ms Jenkyns pledged to be a “strong voice for Yorkshire” in Westminster.
That is something that all the city’s MPs – whether they be Labour, Tory or Liberal Democrat – must now seek to become, not least given the presence of 56 Scottish nationalists in Parliament who will be pushing Scotland’s case at every opportunity.
Our MPs must now repay the faith we have placed in them – starting with putting greater pressure on David Cameron to extend genuine devolution to Leeds in the shape of a “city deal” that is worthy of the name.
Challenge that lies ahead for city
DESPITE the disappointing results for Labour nationally, the picture was much brighter locally.
Council leader Keith Wakefield said the number of Labour councillors being re-elected showed that the people of Leeds retained faith in them to take the city forward.
The test now will be for the Labour-led council to work with the Conservative government in order to secure the powers needed to achieve that, as well as continue to cope with stringent budget cuts.
Despite the challenges ahead, the council must show the ambition required to secure Leeds the success and status it deserves.