WEST OXON: Bad night for Tories as they lose five seats

Lib Dem Elizabeth Poskitt took Woodstock & Bladon off Ian Hudspeth.

Lib Dem Elizabeth Poskitt took Woodstock & Bladon off Ian Hudspeth.

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by

WEST Oxfordshire Conservatives took a hammering as voters sent a "serious message" to Prime Minister David Cameron, according to a jubilant new Labour councillor.

Five Tories, including Oxfordshire County Council leader-in-waiting Ian Hudspeth, tonight lost their seats on West Oxfordshire District Council, the Prime Minister's home patch.

Labour won three seats, in Witney East, Witney Central and Chipping Norton, while the Lib Dems won in both Charlbury and Finstock and Mr Hudspeth's former seat of Woodstock and Bladon.

Sixteen seats across the district were contested in total.

Conservative group leader Barry Norton blamed the losses on collusion in key wards between the Labour and Lib Dems, but this was rubbished by both parties.

Mr Norton said: "I put the losses down to the Lib and Lab coalition in selecting their candidates. They have clearly targeted us and only put up candidates from one or the other party.

"Voters will feel disenfranchised in every seat where we have lost tonight because they were not able to vote for the party of their choice."

He said there was no anti-Government feelings on the doorstep, adding: "We have won in all the places we stood where we have had more than one candidate to fight against.

"It is sticking two fingers up to the electorate by saying to them two parties are not going to stand here because this is the only way we can beat the most popular party."

New Labour councillor Duncan Enright said: "This sends a serious message to David Cameron from his own constituency that he needs to concentrate on economic growth and invest in the people of Britain.

"For us, it is a good first step to opening up the council to be more responsive to people in West Oxfordshire."

He said claims of collusion were "rubbish", adding: "There were no UKIP candidates and that is a vote that would have split the Conservatives.

"The Labour party would like to stand everywhere but we concentrate our efforts where we believe we have the most chance of standing up for people we represent and success."

Lib Dem group leader Julian Cooper said: "The message this sends is that the public like the fact that the Lib Dems put compassion into politics."

He said allegations of collusion were untrue and said the uncontested seat in Milton-under-Wychwood, won by the Conservatives, was proof of this.

Comments (20)

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6:07am Fri 4 May 12

Christine Hovis says...

I'm not that many of us would agree with Mr Cooper:

"The message this sends is that the public like the fact that the Lib Dems put compassion into politics."

And a nice welcome to your new job for Mr Hudspeth.
I'm not that many of us would agree with Mr Cooper: "The message this sends is that the public like the fact that the Lib Dems put compassion into politics." And a nice welcome to your new job for Mr Hudspeth. Christine Hovis
  • Score: 0

8:08am Fri 4 May 12

cynicality says...

'He said there was no anti-Government feelings on the doorstep'...he can't even form a proper sentence, unless he was misreported...'feeli
ngs' is plural, so 'there were' not 'there was'. Tut, tut!
'He said there was no anti-Government feelings on the doorstep'...he can't even form a proper sentence, unless he was misreported...'feeli ngs' is plural, so 'there were' not 'there was'. Tut, tut! cynicality
  • Score: 0

8:18am Fri 4 May 12

Porphyro says...

So, Barry Norton is concerned about the rights of electors:
"It is sticking two fingers up to the electorate by saying to them two parties are not going to stand here because this is the only way we can beat the most popular party."

I really don't recall similar outbursts of principled concern from Mr Norton on the many occasions when he was returned unopposed in North Leigh. The grapes have been sour this year, haven't they, Barry?
So, Barry Norton is concerned about the rights of electors: "It is sticking two fingers up to the electorate by saying to them two parties are not going to stand here because this is the only way we can beat the most popular party." I really don't recall similar outbursts of principled concern from Mr Norton on the many occasions when he was returned unopposed in North Leigh. The grapes have been sour this year, haven't they, Barry? Porphyro
  • Score: 0

8:33am Fri 4 May 12

Porphyro says...

cynicality wrote:
'He said there was no anti-Government feelings on the doorstep'...he can't even form a proper sentence, unless he was misreported...'feeli

ngs' is plural, so 'there were' not 'there was'. Tut, tut!
OK, so his grammar's dodgy but more worrying still is his grasp of semantics. According to him, the Conservatives are "the most popular party" in Witney Central and Witney East but were beaten unfairly where it was a straight fight with Labour.

It is, apparently, perfectly fair to return a Conservative councillor on only 25% of the vote as long as no other candidate achieves more than that. It's this electoral system that in the past allowed Conservatives to occupy virtually all WODC seats on a small percentage of the total vote. No concerns from Mr Norton about the majority of electors being "disenfranchised" in those circumstances.
[quote][p][bold]cynicality[/bold] wrote: 'He said there was no anti-Government feelings on the doorstep'...he can't even form a proper sentence, unless he was misreported...'feeli ngs' is plural, so 'there were' not 'there was'. Tut, tut![/p][/quote]OK, so his grammar's dodgy but more worrying still is his grasp of semantics. According to him, the Conservatives are "the most popular party" in Witney Central and Witney East but were beaten unfairly where it was a straight fight with Labour. It is, apparently, perfectly fair to return a Conservative councillor on only 25% of the vote as long as no other candidate achieves more than that. It's this electoral system that in the past allowed Conservatives to occupy virtually all WODC seats on a small percentage of the total vote. No concerns from Mr Norton about the majority of electors being "disenfranchised" in those circumstances. Porphyro
  • Score: 0

9:36am Fri 4 May 12

Mrs Arcanum says...

Agree with all the previous comments.

Like many local politicians they extract huge facts from few votes.
Agree with all the previous comments. Like many local politicians they extract huge facts from few votes. Mrs Arcanum
  • Score: 0

10:00am Fri 4 May 12

nickwilcock says...

Duncan Enright is the only councillor who has had the courage to oppose the Tory juggernaut over their ridiculously blinkered views regarding their pet white elephant, the Cogges Bypass....

A well deserved win and it is good to see that WODC is no longer a one party council. Tories lost 5 seats last night - largely due to local issues, I suspect.

Perhaps Tory councillors on WODC will now feel able to vote as their electorate wish, rather than meekly following the party whip.

Barry Norton's accusation of collusion are absurd. The truth is that people are fed up with the behaviour of WODC and have sent them a clear wake-up call.
Duncan Enright is the only councillor who has had the courage to oppose the Tory juggernaut over their ridiculously blinkered views regarding their pet white elephant, the Cogges Bypass.... A well deserved win and it is good to see that WODC is no longer a one party council. Tories lost 5 seats last night - largely due to local issues, I suspect. Perhaps Tory councillors on WODC will now feel able to vote as their electorate wish, rather than meekly following the party whip. Barry Norton's accusation of collusion are absurd. The truth is that people are fed up with the behaviour of WODC and have sent them a clear wake-up call. nickwilcock
  • Score: 0

10:29am Fri 4 May 12

the wizard says...

So Mr Barry Norton, not feeling quite so smug today, shame, NOT !!!

perhaps if you got off your backside and went out and met real people who are having to endure real hardships you may just get a teeny weeny bit of how the rest of the nation feel right now. The Tories got a message from the electorate yesterday, we put you in, listen to us, or we will put you out, simple as that.
So Mr Barry Norton, not feeling quite so smug today, shame, NOT !!! perhaps if you got off your backside and went out and met real people who are having to endure real hardships you may just get a teeny weeny bit of how the rest of the nation feel right now. The Tories got a message from the electorate yesterday, we put you in, listen to us, or we will put you out, simple as that. the wizard
  • Score: 0

12:07pm Fri 4 May 12

John Lamb says...

Now THAT'S how to lose an erection.
Now THAT'S how to lose an erection. John Lamb
  • Score: 0

12:56pm Fri 4 May 12

Major Oxford says...

Tory's Out
Wilder Out
Tory's Out Wilder Out Major Oxford
  • Score: 0

1:35pm Fri 4 May 12

the wizard says...

Major Oxford wrote:
Tory's Out
Wilder Out
LOL ! sport and politics again !

Tories getting a kicking at the ballot box, must be a new sport,LOL
[quote][p][bold]Major Oxford[/bold] wrote: Tory's Out Wilder Out[/p][/quote]LOL ! sport and politics again ! Tories getting a kicking at the ballot box, must be a new sport,LOL the wizard
  • Score: 0

2:56pm Fri 4 May 12

Englishman says...

We had four candidates in our ward. From two of them we had a flyer saying how good they were but nothing from the other two. Does no candidate canvas now or is it just bone idleness on their part. Just shows what interest they would have in representing us.
We had four candidates in our ward. From two of them we had a flyer saying how good they were but nothing from the other two. Does no candidate canvas now or is it just bone idleness on their part. Just shows what interest they would have in representing us. Englishman
  • Score: 0

4:45pm Fri 4 May 12

aradford says...

Englishman wrote:
We had four candidates in our ward. From two of them we had a flyer saying how good they were but nothing from the other two. Does no candidate canvas now or is it just bone idleness on their part. Just shows what interest they would have in representing us.
The explanation as to why two candidates didn't canvass is most likely that they were 'paper candidates'.

That is, parties who wanted to put up a candidate in a ward so voters had the opportunity to vote for them but at the same time realistically didn't stand a chance. The decision is cemented if there are 'target wards' which weaker local parties can focus their resources on; giving them a better chance of winning.

I'm saying this having stood as a paper candidate myself at this election.

Ideally we would have the resources, man-power and time to canvass in all wards. However, focussing efforts to try and win a few seats at a time so the party you believe in can at least represent some people in the council chamber is more practical than spreading too thinly and not making a breakthrough anywhere.

I hope that helps. Hopefully at the next election this won't be the case in your ward.

Incidentally if you live in the Freeland and Hanborough ward then I apologise for not canvassing at your house. I can understand that it may appear like the candidates can't be bothered or that the parties have just forgotten you, but really it is just a matter or prioritising resources on wards we believed were most likely to win.
[quote][p][bold]Englishman[/bold] wrote: We had four candidates in our ward. From two of them we had a flyer saying how good they were but nothing from the other two. Does no candidate canvas now or is it just bone idleness on their part. Just shows what interest they would have in representing us.[/p][/quote]The explanation as to why two candidates didn't canvass is most likely that they were 'paper candidates'. That is, parties who wanted to put up a candidate in a ward so voters had the opportunity to vote for them but at the same time realistically didn't stand a chance. The decision is cemented if there are 'target wards' which weaker local parties can focus their resources on; giving them a better chance of winning. I'm saying this having stood as a paper candidate myself at this election. Ideally we would have the resources, man-power and time to canvass in all wards. However, focussing efforts to try and win a few seats at a time so the party you believe in can at least represent some people in the council chamber is more practical than spreading too thinly and not making a breakthrough anywhere. I hope that helps. Hopefully at the next election this won't be the case in your ward. Incidentally if you live in the Freeland and Hanborough ward then I apologise for not canvassing at your house. I can understand that it may appear like the candidates can't be bothered or that the parties have just forgotten you, but really it is just a matter or prioritising resources on wards we believed were most likely to win. aradford
  • Score: 0

5:13pm Fri 4 May 12

puddlicotepete says...

I live in Barry Nortons constituency and he didn't even have the courtesy to come round and speak to me or my neighbours. West Oxfordshire Tories were so **** sure of a win they didn't put any effort into their campaign. Well done to the other parties that made gains in the area.
I live in Barry Nortons constituency and he didn't even have the courtesy to come round and speak to me or my neighbours. West Oxfordshire Tories were so **** sure of a win they didn't put any effort into their campaign. Well done to the other parties that made gains in the area. puddlicotepete
  • Score: 0

7:04pm Fri 4 May 12

the wizard says...

I find it somehow wrong that an ex councillor like Mr Hudspeth can get dropped by his voters and yet gets the position of top man. Surely this is wrong, the job should go to somebody who has the right to be there by consensus of the electorate, not somebody dis enfranchised.
I find it somehow wrong that an ex councillor like Mr Hudspeth can get dropped by his voters and yet gets the position of top man. Surely this is wrong, the job should go to somebody who has the right to be there by consensus of the electorate, not somebody dis enfranchised. the wizard
  • Score: 0

9:44pm Fri 4 May 12

Abingdon Neil says...

A typical district council ward in Oxfordshire has 2-2,500 houses in it. It takes quite a while to get round that many houses, and when you try you find that two thirds of people are out on average.
A typical district council ward in Oxfordshire has 2-2,500 houses in it. It takes quite a while to get round that many houses, and when you try you find that two thirds of people are out on average. Abingdon Neil
  • Score: 0

8:00am Sat 5 May 12

David Condon says...

the wizard wrote:
I find it somehow wrong that an ex councillor like Mr Hudspeth can get dropped by his voters and yet gets the position of top man. Surely this is wrong, the job should go to somebody who has the right to be there by consensus of the electorate, not somebody dis enfranchised.
Whilst he has lost his position as District Cllr for Woodstock & Bladen, he is still County Cllrr for Woodstock. However it must be extremely iritating for him, and not least inconvenient, that he's lost that connection.
[quote][p][bold]the wizard[/bold] wrote: I find it somehow wrong that an ex councillor like Mr Hudspeth can get dropped by his voters and yet gets the position of top man. Surely this is wrong, the job should go to somebody who has the right to be there by consensus of the electorate, not somebody dis enfranchised.[/p][/quote]Whilst he has lost his position as District Cllr for Woodstock & Bladen, he is still County Cllrr for Woodstock. However it must be extremely iritating for him, and not least inconvenient, that he's lost that connection. David Condon
  • Score: 0

3:42pm Sat 5 May 12

DoctorBob says...

Remind me again what the Tories were demanding from strike votes and percentages?
Remind me again what the Tories were demanding from strike votes and percentages? DoctorBob
  • Score: 0

10:19pm Sat 5 May 12

Porphyro says...

Good point, Doctor Bob. Institutionalised hypocrisy is their trademark on this issue.

The winning Conservative in Witney South, for example, achieved the magnificent total of 577 votes out of a possible 4,755, having persuaded just 14% of the electors to vote for her. What a resounding mandate!
Good point, Doctor Bob. Institutionalised hypocrisy is their trademark on this issue. The winning Conservative in Witney South, for example, achieved the magnificent total of 577 votes out of a possible 4,755, having persuaded just 14% of the electors to vote for her. What a resounding mandate! Porphyro
  • Score: 0

12:36pm Sun 6 May 12

JanetJ says...

the wizard wrote:
I find it somehow wrong that an ex councillor like Mr Hudspeth can get dropped by his voters and yet gets the position of top man. Surely this is wrong, the job should go to somebody who has the right to be there by consensus of the electorate, not somebody dis enfranchised.
I was very pleased to read this post - I do agree with you. I don't understand how Mr Hudspeth can keep the top job with no support from the electorate
[quote][p][bold]the wizard[/bold] wrote: I find it somehow wrong that an ex councillor like Mr Hudspeth can get dropped by his voters and yet gets the position of top man. Surely this is wrong, the job should go to somebody who has the right to be there by consensus of the electorate, not somebody dis enfranchised.[/p][/quote]I was very pleased to read this post - I do agree with you. I don't understand how Mr Hudspeth can keep the top job with no support from the electorate JanetJ
  • Score: 0

8:31pm Sun 6 May 12

DoctorBob says...

JanetJ wrote:
the wizard wrote:
I find it somehow wrong that an ex councillor like Mr Hudspeth can get dropped by his voters and yet gets the position of top man. Surely this is wrong, the job should go to somebody who has the right to be there by consensus of the electorate, not somebody dis enfranchised.
I was very pleased to read this post - I do agree with you. I don't understand how Mr Hudspeth can keep the top job with no support from the electorate
As pointed out in an earlier post you don't understand because you haven't digested the information correctly.

Mr Hudspeth is an elected County Councillor and is going to be the leader of the County Council.

This was a different election for a different post.
[quote][p][bold]JanetJ[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]the wizard[/bold] wrote: I find it somehow wrong that an ex councillor like Mr Hudspeth can get dropped by his voters and yet gets the position of top man. Surely this is wrong, the job should go to somebody who has the right to be there by consensus of the electorate, not somebody dis enfranchised.[/p][/quote]I was very pleased to read this post - I do agree with you. I don't understand how Mr Hudspeth can keep the top job with no support from the electorate[/p][/quote]As pointed out in an earlier post you don't understand because you haven't digested the information correctly. Mr Hudspeth is an elected County Councillor and is going to be the leader of the County Council. This was a different election for a different post. DoctorBob
  • Score: 0

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