Login Register

Election disappointment for Labour in Gloucester threatens Kate Haigh leadership and parliamentary candidate Sophy Gardner's campaign

By citizenmike  |  Posted: May 24, 2014

By Michael Wilkinson, Public Affairs correspondent

GLML20140523B-089_C

Labour parliamentary candidate Sophy Gardner at the count last night

Comments (24)

DISAPPOINTED Labour saw their vote share tumble in Gloucester after failing to grab any of their three target seats.

Despite throwing huge resources into Podsmead, Tuffley and Grange, the party slumped. Its biggest scalp of the night would have been unseating the city council’s deputy leader Jennie Dallimore (C, Podsmead) who won by just 26 votes four years ago. Instead, she more than doubled her slim majority.

VIDEO: JENNIE DALLIMORE ON HER VICTORY OVER LABOUR

Related content

In 2012 the party, whose campaign was run by leader Kate Haigh, took 33 per cent of the vote but that fell to 26 per cent on Thursday.

Questions are now expected to be asked as to the viability of parliamentary candidate Sophy Gardner’s campaign.

Labour hoped to keep their number of total votes within 1,500 of the Tories in order to give Ms Gardner a chance of toppling city MP Richard Graham’s 2,420 majority next year. But their vote tumbled 3,779 votes below that of their rivals.

Ms Gardner said: "I am not complacent. This will just make me work harder in the next year. We have got a lot to learn locally and nationally."

An embattled Ms Haigh, who could not hide her disappointment at the count, admitted: “We had hoped to do better.”

But she added: “We fought a tough campaign in places like Podsmead and there has been no change in the council. It was a close result. Jennie’s majority is bigger, yes, but it is hardly resounding support for her. There were only a handful of votes in it.”

Asked if she felt Ms Gardner’s campaign would be hampered, she said: “Absolutely not. With the European elections on the same day, people didn’t know how to vote. I think it is very difficult to draw conclusions. Sophy is a very strong candidate.”

Ms Haigh was unaware of her party leader Ed Miliband’s cost of living gaffe last week when he miscalculated the cost of his own weekly shop. She refutes the idea that any perceived weakness with Mr Miliband could affect Ms Gardner’s chances.

She also insisted that she would run the next election campaign and that her job as leader of the city group is safe. “I am looking forward to getting back into council work,” she said.

Ms Gardner revealed, however, that there 'will be one campaign for 2015, not two campaigns', and admitted that it would be her that takes the responsibility for Labour's performance both nationally and locally next year.

Ms Haigh’s council group has been mocked on occasions for being ‘tame’, but in a sign that she plans to toughen up the position of her nine-strong team, she said: “The Tories have major problems with the council’s senior management since so many have left.

“It is a real worry and we are going to be making sure that this council goes in the right direction.”

Ms Haigh yesterday receiving the backing of Tom Coole, the party's unsuccessful candidate in the Hucclecote ward, who took to Twitter to say:

Read more from Gloucester Citizen

Do you have something to say? Leave your comment here...

max 4000 characters

24 comments

  • Sound-advice  |  May 26 2014, 8:47PM

    Kate, may I suggest you give up your day job and concentrate on politics. The greatest leaders have had one focus their politics. How can you give your all when you are working. With a goal within grasp your day job has meant you were not doing what you love. Take sound advice , if you want politics then quit immediately if you want to work quit politics. This is an area where you cannot have both. What is it kate a job or politics?

    |   -58
  • Lecorche  |  May 26 2014, 10:32AM

    Only when we get the result of the General Election is a year's time will we know the real truth,Kay.

    |   39
  • Kay_Powell  |  May 25 2014, 5:35PM

    Selina, most Labour Party activists know that they should have done very much better than they actually did. We are four years into a possible five-year parliamentary term, and it is usual for the main opposition party to do well at this time. In Gloucester, Labour failed to gain even one seat.

    |   -71
  • Lecorche  |  May 25 2014, 4:15PM

    Spot on,,Selina30.

    |   40
  • SELINA30  |  May 25 2014, 3:55PM

    Is Michael Wilkinson employed by the Citizen or the local Tory Party? By any standards Labour were runaway winners of the council elections. They won more than 2,100 seats, an increase of over 330, while the Conservatives fell to less than 1,400.

    |   49
  • gowpen66  |  May 25 2014, 2:49PM

    North Glos EPC yes the system has been "got at" but I wouldn't hold out much hope of the Citizen IT people sorting it out.

    |   -78
  • North Glos EPC  |  May 25 2014, 1:49PM

    gowpen66, You are partly right. except the comments rating system has quite obviously been "got at", my previous comment got to minus 60 odd in two minutes. I seriously doubt anything like that many people were even looking at this article at the time. It's been happening in the Daily Mail too. I think some horrid little leftist hacker has wormed their way in with the naive objective being to influence how people think and subsequently vote. I think though readers have more sense than that and I suggest they read the comments and make their own mind up. I also suggest gloucestercitizen.co.uk should get their IT people to look at security, unless they are fiddling it themselves of course, but I hope they're not.

    |   -103
  • honslknjklyt  |  May 25 2014, 12:05PM

    It must be remembered that there was the opportunity for a referendum on Europe and Cameron used the party whip to stop it. He offered it with one hand then stole it away with the other because "the time wasn't right". He cannot be trusted.

    |   -61
  • gowpen66  |  May 25 2014, 11:59AM

    If you add up all the negative comments on this story and the other article in the Citizen about the election it comes to more than the total number of votes that were actually cast in some wards! Just goes to show how lazy people are when rather than actually vote they just press a key on their computers. (Negative comments here we come!)

    |   -61
  • North Glos EPC  |  May 25 2014, 10:45AM

    Well it's pretty clear the negative comment ratings have been fiddled. The shear number of votes (all negative of course) prove that. No subject normally gets that many votes either positive or negative. Anyway going back to the election results. I can understand Labour being disappointed but perhaps they should think for a moment. Perhaps it's not so much that you did not work hard enough to get your "message" across, perhaps it's the case that your "message" is rubbish. Although not perhaps a local issue, had Labour national policy been to have an EU referendum spin off support would have had you romping home. Time to get your policies in line with the views of the electorate maybe? Advice that might equally apply to the Conservatives and Liberals too.

    |   -72

      YOUR COMMENTS AWAITING MODERATION

       
       
       

      MORE NEWS HEADLINES