The local election results on Thursday May 22 were nothing if not interesting here in Leeds NW.
39.9% of the electorate voted – some achievement in view of the relentless rain.
A very big thanks to everyone who came out to vote in such conditions, and a huge one to all workers who braved the weather.
Labour had a good day – if a mixed one.
There was an excellent result in Headingley – where Jonathan Pryor increased Labour’s majority from 32 [over the LibDems] in 2012 to 260 [over the Greens, with LibDems now in third place].
Labour improved its vote and position in Adel and Wharfedale – confirming its position second to the Tories as in 2012. The Tory vote here slipped from over 3600 in 2012 to just over 3000.
In Weetwood, both Labour and LibDem votes remained more or less as in 2012.
But in Otley and Yeadon, both Labour and LibDem votes fell – LibDem from 3259 to 2916, Labour’s from 2615 to 1916.
These falls – and much else – were a result of a rise in the UKIP vote, and to a lesser extent of that of the Greens.
In Weetwood, Adel and Wharfedale and especially in Otley and Yeadon, there was a UKIP surge – with 1306 votes in Otley and Yeadon and 737 in Weetwood. UKIP stood for the first time in these wards – but they also doubled their vote in Adel and Wharfedale, where there was a UKIP candidate in 2012.
The Greens improved their vote in Adel and Wharfedale, in Weetwood, and especially in Headingley.
Labour had first-rate candidates in all these seats. They would have made a great contribution to Leeds City Council – and we’re sure they will do so before too long.
But the big overall story is the constant and continuing decline in the LibDem and Tory vote proportion in Leeds NW.
In 2010 the Tories took 26% of the vote, in 2012 24.5%, this year 21%.
But it is the decline of the LibDems which has been most marked – from 47% in 2010, to 33.5% in 2012, to 29% this year.
There are now just three percentage points between Labour on 26.2% and the LibDems in Leeds NW.
The surge in Green but especially UKIP votes is something we will take very seriously.
There is clearly a Europe factor here. Both parties were expected to do well in the European elections – and holding these on the same day as the Council elections will have boosted their vote.
But we are not complacent.
These votes are a reminder to us that we must continue to campaign vigorously on the issues. Labour has a strong message – and we will work hard to get that across.
However, the big picture is encouraging.
Just one more heave to victory in 2015.
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