Lib Dems battered at 2011 Leeds local election poll

Lib Dem councillor Jamie Matthews scratches his head as colleague James Monaghan (above, right) crashes to defeat in Headingley.
Lib Dem councillor Jamie Matthews scratches his head as colleague James Monaghan (above, right) crashes to defeat in Headingley.
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Labour romped to a local election victory in Leeds, gaining seven seats to take overall control of the city council for the first time since 2004.

It was a boot in the ballots for the Liberal Democrats who lost five seats as they suffered one of their worst local election performances for many years.

The Conservatives had mixed fortunes – losing one seat overall – while the Greens retained the one seat they were defending. The Morley Borough Independents lost one seat.

Labour took Headingley, Burmantofts and Richmond Hill, Moortown and Rothwell from the Liberal Democrats, Roundhay and Temple Newsam from the Tories and Morley South from the Morley Borough Independents.

The Conservatives gained Horsforth from the Liberal Democrats.

Going into the election, Labour had 48 seats, Conservatives 22, Liberal Democrats 21, Morley Borough Independents 6 and Green 2.

Now the political make-up of the council is Labour 55, Conservatives 21, Liberal Democrat 16, Morley Borough Independents 5 and Greens 2.

The Liberal Democrats collapse in Leeds – managing to hold only two of the seven seats they were defending – was mirrored elsewhere in the country and Coun Keith Wakefield, council leader, said: “Their poor showing reflects people’s anger about the depth and speed of the cuts we have had to experience.

“I had predicted we might make two or three gains so to achieve seven is a pleasant surprise.”

He said that while Labour had an overall majority on the council, the group would seek to work with other parties and organisations to tackle the big challenges facing the city which included public spending cuts, job creation and youth unemployment.

Coun Stewart Golton, Liberal Democrat group leader, said: “This has been a dreadful result for our party in Leeds and our group on the council. We have lost some good hard-working councillors because of national issues.

“Labour has been very effective in making themselves the party of protest in 2011 in the way that we have previously.

“It has been clear in places like Headingley that the student vote has not accepted the coalition government’s policy on tuition fees. They are unhappy with the policy, as are many of our party members, and they have chosen to show that through the ballot box.”

Coun Andrew Carter, Conservative group leader, said he was disappointed to lose two good councillors in Roundhay and Temple Newsam but satisfied with the result overall and particularly pleased to gain Horsforth,

He added: “Our share of the vote held up remarkably well. Labour has nothing to crow about and the big losers are the Liberal Democrats, who are having to get used to what it’s like to be in government and make tough decision.”

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