Joy and disappointment as labour gain votes in good turnout, but narrowly lose one councillor!
Stevenage Borough Council elections are now over, results have been counted and verified and commendations are made for a fantastic campaign which has delivered a clear message.
Following a strong campaign, led by Campaign Manager Jeannette Thomas, in which over 50 members and volunteers delivered election addresses, reminder cards, tweets and not forgetting of course canvassing in both sunshine and sleet, votes were cast at polling stations across the town and by post and proxy from as far afield as Canada.
As the sun went down on 4 teams of supporters still out knocking doors on a long day of canvassing, the scene was being set for a little more sweating at Stevenage Leisure Centre for the counting of votes.
Candidates and agents kept a close eye on proceedings as ballot papers in each ward were separated and counted, but in due course it became clear that Stevenage Labour's strong team and dedication had once again delivered for our town.
Having lost her seat last year in Longmeadow, Jackie Holywell won 104 votes ahead of Liberal Democrat candidate Stephen Booth in Chells, but unfortunately despite gaining ground in Longmeadow and receiving 40% of its votes, Lorraine Bell narrowly missed retaining her place in the council by just 7 votes.
Manor remained a Lib Dem stronghold, where Monika Cherney-Craw valiantly stood for Labour in the ward with the highest turnout of 42.2%, whereas John Mead was returned with 53% of votes cast in the lowest turnout, 29.6%, in Shephall.
In other wards 32-38% of the electorate cast their votes and Labour candidates held their seats firmly with Jim Callaghan making also making a significant dent in Conservative Woodfield with 30.5% of the vote. Click here for the full results table.
In PCC elections, Stevenage voters also sent a clear message to the Tories, with our candidate, Mr Kerry Pollard, receiving 8390 votes (39%) in comparison to 6755 (31%) for Conservative candidate David Lloyd. Turnout accross the county was 29%, compared with Stevenage's 33%, however in the end after second preferences were taken into account from 72063 ballots, David Lloyd was returned as Police and Crime Commissioner with 60% of the vote. MEP Richard Howitt, who made 3 visits to Stevenage since our AGM in February, assisting with telephone canvassing and door-knocking and appearing with candidates on BBC Look East, tweeted Kerry's 40% as 'a credible result for @UKLabour'.
Congratulations go out to all candidates, winners and losers, once again for their dedication and service to our communities and special mentions of thanks are extended to: Janet Raynor, Joan Lloyd, Sharon Taylor and Jeannette Thomas for their time and effort at Popple Way office for the past three months - organising election addresses, door-knocking sheets, calling cards... [I mustn't forget coffee and biscuits!]... and to Ralph Raynor with his excellent attention to detail, in his last year as Agent.
We do not give up, we do not give in and we fight on!