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'Business as usual' say victorious Conservatives in Gloucester

By citizenmike  |  Posted: May 23, 2014

By Michael Wilkinson, Public Affairs correspondent

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Conservatives at large: leader Paul James, Debbie Llewellyn, Andy Lewis and Jennie Dallimore

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CONSERVATIVES say it is ‘business as usual’ when it comes to running the city of Gloucester, after they held their own in the election.

They successfully defended eight seats and maintained their 37 per cent share of the vote. Labour’s share fell from 33 to 26 per cent and the Lib Dems dropped from 23 to 18 per cent. UKIP soared from four to 15 per cent but failed to make any inroads.

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Despite Lib Dem support falling, leader Jeremy Hilton is aligning himself to strike a deal with Conservative council leader Paul James in a bid to push through pledges such as new public toilets for the city centre and making a bid for World Heritage Status for Gloucester Cathedral.

Attempting to brush off Mr Hilton’s demands, Mr James said: “I think anyone making demands needs to take a look at the results tonight. Bearing in mind we were defending eight of the 15 seats we have had a pretty good result. It is of course disappointing not to have made a gain.

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“As for Labour, they threw a great deal of resources into their target wards but were unable to win any of them. It has been a bad night for them.

“When it comes to the council, we have always been pretty inclusive and taken on board ideas from other people. That will continue.”

But Mr Hilton said: “We have done very well. We have held the four seats that we were defending.

“The council is still a stalemate. It is finely balanced but it needs everyone’s co-operation. We will want to have discussions about how the council works going forward. The important thing for us is that Liberal Democrat policies are implemented.”

Mr James said he was keen to continue running a minority Conservative administration and is keen not to be distracted from his regeneration plans for the city, pushing ahead with developments such as delivering the King’s Quarter project and a new bus station.

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City MP Richard Graham said it was important Mr James was allowed to continue leading the council to push forward the regeneration agenda.

Mr Graham, who proudly celebrating alongside victorious Conservative candidates at the county, said: “The main result of the local elections in Gloucester was continuity. Paul James and the Conservatives will continue to lead a hung council – the right result for a city on the up and heading in the right direction but with much still to be done on city centre regeneration.

“If I were to highlight one difference between Conservative councillors and Labour ones it is our enthusiasm to get stuck into local issues and be ambitious about what our city and residents can achieve – rather than the relentless gloom painted by the local Labour Party, and what one Labour MP recently described as Ed Miliband’s ‘mantra of misery’.”

Mr Graham would not comment on how he felt the Conservatives good night at the polls would affect his rival Sophy Gardner’s chances of electoral success at next year’s General Election.

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5 comments

  • sam291  |  May 31 2014, 9:23PM

    I was surprised or not surprised! that Cllr. Lewis got in again for Quedgeley Severnvale!! he is suppose to represents the people of Quedgeley, so why is it we NEVER see any of our elected Conservatives, only when they want our votes - I suppose that is the tories for you.

  • RoadWombat  |  May 25 2014, 8:25AM

    Whilst a few MPs for UKIP in 2015 would be excellent, it's not the be-all and end-all. Look what UKIP have achieved already without a single one - getting MPs to talk about things that have been off the agenda for years; things that the left had hitherto declared taboo subjects such as immigration and our membership of the EU. If it wasn't for UKIP the Westminster lot would still be casually brushing off any such discussion as 'racist' and nothing would move forward. Yes, the parties in Westminster will bluster in public about UKIP being inconsequential, but behind the scenes they're very worried about losing votes. UKIP, in its present form, is only four or five years old whilst the other parties have been around a century or more. No-one can expect them to sweep into Westminster with loads of MPs in that short a time. It's steady progress you're seeing happening and the other parties are worried!

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  • Mike_Smith_Gl  |  May 24 2014, 11:49AM

    Mmm, that article makes some good points but misses others. The media makes much of the fact that UKIP doesn't control any District Councils. I omits to mention the fact that this year there are only elections have been held by Councils which have opted for elections by thirds so it would be impossible for a Party to gain control in just one year. Councils like Tewkesbury, Cotswolds and the Forest of Dean have a 'one out, all out' system once every four years (Gloucester switches to this system in 2016). These Councils did not have elections this year. It is correct in saying that UKIP's support is very widespread and not concentrated in certain areas. This is shown by the fact that UKIP, locally and nationally, did as well in seats won by Labour as in seats won by Conservatives. It is a strength but also a weakness when it comes to first-past-the-post elections. However, people are now beginning to realise that UKIP CAN win those elections as well as PR elections. The article was clearly written before all the results were in and UKIP has now exceeded the gains it made in last year's County Council elections. As for Lecorche's own comments;- London may think it is important but it is only a small part of the UK and very isolated from the rest of the country. If you think that the country will revert to a two party state at the next General Election you are being either very hopeful or very naive. It did not in 2010 and the odds are heavily on another "hung" Parliament in 2016, even with Labour's built-in electoral advantage (thanks to the Liberal Democrats). The big question is which Party or Parties will hold the balance of power.

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  • Lecorche  |  May 24 2014, 11:05AM

    There may have been no change here but in places that count,like London,the Cons got a kick up the Nether End. However, here's a sober and unhyped report on the whole waste of time (as when it comes to the General Election everything will turn around and leave only two big parties): http://tinyurl.com/qafgwhe

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  • Mike_Smith_Gl  |  May 24 2014, 9:54AM

    Again, the "UKIP surge" is practically ignored by Mike. OK, it didn't gain any seats - but neither did any other party. However, it was only UKIP that had a dramatic increase in its vote in every Ward that it fought. In those Wards its share of the vote soared to 22%. The Liberal Democrats held on to the seats in which it was entrenched but absolutely collapsed elsewhere - a derisory 15 in Podsmead and from 1,111 in 2012 to 282 in Longlevens. In a number of Wards where UKIP did well, Labour lost literally hundreds of votes. In Matson & Robinswood, Labour's vote fell from 1297 to 906, whilst UKIP went up from 274 to 731. Indeed, it could be said that a vote for Conservative (456) let in Labour. All of this should finally scotch the notion that UKIP only gets support from disaffected Tories. It all bodes very well for Luke Hindhaugh's campaign for 2015 - who, incidentally, was the only Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Gloucester not pictured in your print edition!

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