By Harry Mottram: The Bath and North East Somerset Council elections have given the incumbent Liberal Democrat administration an increased majority and another four years in power. The news has been welcomed by the city’s Member of Parliament Wera Hobhouse of the same political party.
She has posed with a photograph with the winning LibDem candidates to celebrate their success and to add confidence to her election battle expected next year in a General Election.
She said: “I would first like to thank all those residents who have put their faith in my friends on the Council to provide another four years of a positive, ambitious agenda. I would also like to congratulate all the candidates and volunteers who made this historic second term happen. I could not be happier for you all.
“Over the past four years, my colleagues on the Council kept sight of the issues that really matter to everyone across the local area. Whether it be leading the fight against the climate emergency, providing affordable housing, or balancing the books, they have proven that they can govern effectively and build a forward-looking manifesto. A manifesto I am sure they will waste no time in implementing.
“Across the country, it is clear people are fed up with this Conservative government and their terrible record. Many are now turning towards a positive vision of Britain, the vision of the Liberal Democrats.
“These elections have shown that people refuse to be taken for granted. Instead, they have chosen to elect hardworking, local champions who will fight for their communities and demand a fair deal.”
Lib Dem council leader Kevin Guy, who said before the election: “Democracy delivers short term visionism, and you can’t make fundamental changes to people’s lives unless you are given the opportunity to have two, three terms.”
Local Democracy Reporter John Wimperis writes: “In a final blow for the Tories, the leader of their group on the council Vic Pritchard lost his seat in the last ward to declare of the night. He had been one of two Conservatives representing the Chew Valley, but both seats were won by the Liberal Democrats. It is the second consecutive election in Bath and North East Somerset where the Conservative leader has been unseated, with then council leader Tim Warren losing his Mendip seat to Liberal Democrat David Wood in 2019.
“Despite their overwhelming victory, the Liberal Democrats did not hold all their seats, losing one in Radstock to Labour and one in Lambridge to the Greens — where Mayor of Bath Rob Appleyard was unseated by “Bicycle Mayor” Saskia Heijtjes. With five councillors — and hopes to hold onto their two seats in Paulton where the poll has been postponed — Labour have achieved their hope of becoming the official opposition.
“Labour group leader Robin Moss said: “We will be a constructive and where necessary critical opposition. We don’t think the Conservatives have been much of an opposition over the last four years.”
“While three councillors is a result that has disappointed Conservatives, the Greens have welcomed being in the same situation. Joanna Wright, who had been the only Green on the council, said: “The Green Party are now a group on B&NES council. We will continue to work hard for residents.”
Two seats, those for the ward of Paulton, have not yet been won. The election in the ward has been postponed following the death of Green Party candidate Tim Morgan. It is being rearranged for a later date.
Photo (credit Clive Dellard): Liberal Democrats celebrate their historic second term victory on B&NES Council.