Tories triumphant as Labour’s dreams of historic election fail to materialise
Opposition make breakthroughs in West End ward and Bayswater and enjoy a clean sweep in Maida Vale, as Conservative leader Nickie Aiken warns over 'nasty, nasty politics'
The count at the old Royal Horticultural Hall
A TRIUMPHANT Nickie Aiken warned Jeremy Corbyn that Labour’s “nasty, nasty politics” are not welcome in Westminster after the Conservative vote held firm.
The council leader said this morning’s (Friday) results were a “very clear message” that, despite a massive campaign, Labour had not come close to seizing control of the council.
The final results, declared at around 5am in Lindley Hall, Pimlico, mean there are 41 Conservative councillors in Westminster, to Labour’s 19 – a gain of just four seats for the opposition.
Cllr Aiken said: “I’ve lost some really good friends. But that is politics. But Labour were coming into this election saying they were going to take it, but they were nowhere near taking it. It is a message to Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour, that their nasty, nasty politics is not welcome here in Westminster. They threw everything at us. We had Momentum, for weeks on end. The message is very clear: 41 seats in Westminster.”
Council leader Nickie Aiken
Despite the general gloom among the Labour ranks, there were some positives. The party increased its share of the vote by 8 per cent on 2014, and there were wins in new territories – West End ward, Bayswater and a clean sweep in Maida Vale.
Asked how he felt at the end, Labour leader Cllr Adam Hug said: “We’ve made some progress but not as much as we would have in an ideal world. We’ve got one in West End. We’ve won all Maida Vale. It’s not like we’re are not dancing on the ceiling. We are all just very, very tired. We have significantly closed the gap. We feel we’ve done well on the vote share.”
Labour leader Cllr Adam Hug
The Labour MP for Westminster North, Karen Buck, told TV cameras that it had always been a big ask for Labour with so many “high-swing wards”. Conservative MP for Cities and Westminster, Mark Field, said he had not believed the campaign hype about Labour taking the council.
The West End ward was perhaps the most dramatic announcement, with three winning candidates split by just 17 votes.
The Conservative Tim Barnes polled 990, to Labour’s Pancho Lewis’s 984 and Conservative Jonathan Glanz on 973. Labour’s Patrick Lilley and Caroline Saville came next with 947 and 927 votes respectively. Ron Whelan, for the Campaign Against Pedestrianisation of Oxford Street, won 291 votes. However, the CAPOS supporters were in celebratory mood after the council’s announcement a week ago that it has put the brakes on the scheme.
Robert Davis, who stepped aside and referred himself for a council investigation following uproar about his gifts and hospitality declarations, breezed back into Lancaster Gate ward with 1,226 votes.
Murad Qureshi, the former London Assembly Member, was one of three Labour candidates defeated in Little Venice, in what had been a target ward for Labour.
There were smiles for Labour in Maida Vale ward, however, where Geoff Barraclough, Rita Begum and Nafsika Butler-Thalassis took an unexpected clean sweep.
And in Queen’s Park, Hamza Taouzzale – the former Youth MP – was elected at the age of 18.