WEST OXON ELECTIONS: Tories tighten grip on council

Oxfordshire County Council leader Ian Hudspeth, left, West Oxfordshire District Council lerader Barry Norton, centre, and Liam Walker, chairman of Witney Conservative Future

Oxfordshire County Council leader Ian Hudspeth, left, West Oxfordshire District Council lerader Barry Norton, centre, and Liam Walker, chairman of Witney Conservative Future

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Education Reporter, also covering West Oxford. Call me on (01865) 425437

RELIEF and joy swept through Windrush Leisure Centre as the Conservatives managed to gain two seats in the district.

After a swift two hours of counting, the Conservative Party in West Oxfordshire District Council remained victorious after increasing their majority to 40 seats out of the council’s 49.

Of the 17 seats up for election, it won in 15 wards, while Labour gained a seat and the Liberal Democrats had a mixed bag, losing one seat but holding its other.

The party was under pressure to hold off UKIP as it made a challenge to 10 seats.

But the Tories held on, gaining two seats in Ducklington and Eynsham & Cassington, the latter previosuly a Liberal Democrat seat.

Oxford Mail:

  • Ben Woodruff

Ben Woodruff won the Ducklington seat with 337 votes – 50 per cent – after Steve Hayward resigned following his controversial move to Thailand. Mr Hayward left the Conservative Party last year.

Mr Woodruff moved to reassure residents he was going to stay. He said: “I have no intention of going to Thailand.

“The hard work on the campaign has paid off and the people in the area have decided.”

Council leader Barry Norton said the success showed people of the district supported the party, despite the national picture.

He said: “We started off the night with 13 of the 17 seats up for election and we ended up with 15 victories, including two gains.

“Again Conservatives across the country have not been doing that well and we are probably out-performing the national picture here, which underlies that we have a trust from people that we are achieving in West Oxfordshire.

“Our majority on the council is now increased to 31, as we hold 40 of the 49 seats on the council.

“A couple of other noteworthy victories are Alex Postan at Brize Norton & Shilton, where he saw off a single-issue Independent who was against housing growth in that particular area.

“So I think that’s particularly commendable there and, of course, we had terrific gain in Eynsham & Cassington where Peter Emery took the seat that was previously held by the Liberal Democrats. That’s a great gain for us now.

“What it means now is that we can continue to move forward running the council in a very positive way, making efficiency savings wherever we can, pioneering new ways of streamlining services and how they are presented to the public so we can become really cost-efficient and we are working with other councils to do that.”

Prime Minister and Witney MP David Cameron said: “Locally we have 15 Conservative seats out of 17 overall, which is a very good result. Our results, with two gains, have shown a huge vote of confidence in all the good things Conservatives are doing on behalf of local people.”

Anti-Europe party UKIP closed in on its political rivals the Conservatives in West Oxfordshire, but failed to gain any seats.

The party came second to the Tories in seven of the 10 wards it contested. The tensest moment came during the announcement for the Witney South ward, where incumbent David Harvey had faced a challenge from UKIP’s James Robertshaw.

Mr Harvey won with 625 votes – a margin of 152.

Mr Harvey said: “It went all the way down to the door. At the end of the day it shows the overall appreciation people have for the work I have done in the cabinet as portfolio holder for environment.”

Mr Robertshaw believed the weather played a part on results, saying: “I think part of it is because it was on the same day as European elections and I think I would have done better, to be honest, but it was raining yesterday and Labour had quite a heavy campaign as well.”

Our top stories:

Skye Hall's family: Our first Christmas without our brave son

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Saturday 20th December 2014

LOOM bands are taking over the house of Skye Hall’s family as they prepare to spend their first Christmas without the brave youngster who died in August.

Hudspeth backs councillors in demand to be told man's pay in allowances row

Oxford Mail: Ian Hudspeth

8:30am Saturday 20th December 2014

OXFORDSHIRE County Council leader Ian Hudspeth has backed councillors Rodney Rose and Kevin Bulmer who asked a voter to reveal his wages when he challenged them over a 19 per cent hike in their allowance.

Two arrested for GBH after man injured in fight

Oxford Mail:

5:24pm Saturday 20th December 2014

Two teenagers from Witney were arrested last night after a man suffered a broken arm.

Oxfam "accepts" tweet ruling

Oxford Mail:

2:23pm Saturday 20th December 2014

OXFAM has said it accepts criticism from charity regulators over an alleged “party political” tweet about a “perfect storm” of poverty.

Ambulance managers shown as Nazis in Downfall video parody

Oxford Mail:

7:10am Saturday 20th December 2014

A VIDEO portraying South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) bosses as Nazi military officials has emerged on YouTube.

What brilliant picture is in our Oxford Mail Advent Calendar today?

Oxford Mail:

6:00am Tuesday 9th December 2014

December is Advent Calendar time and we have a special new interactive graphic for you each and every day until Christmas Eve. I've chosen the best 24 pictures of 2014 and I'll be unveiling one a day - so what is behind's today's door?

Council tax could go up more than was first thought

Oxford Mail: New Oxfordshire county council logo

9:30am Saturday 20th December 2014

COUNCIL tax in Oxfordshire may go up by more than originally planned after the Government laid out its plans for local authority income.

Oxford United look to spoil Hartlepool's party

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Saturday 20th December 2014

Andy Whing says Oxford United should expect to beat Hartlepool United this afternoon despite the Football League’s bottom club appointing a new manager this week.

Hoodie robbers sought

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

9:10am Saturday 20th December 2014

Two men tried to rob a 22-year-old woman of her handbag in St Giles in Oxford.

27 drink-drive arrests

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

9:10am Saturday 20th December 2014

Twenty-seven people have been arrested on suspicion of drink-drving in Oxfordshire this month.

Motorcyclist hit car driver after collision

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

9:10am Saturday 20th December 2014

A pensioner was badly injured when he was attacked in his car by a motorcyclist in Cutteslowe, police said.

Dignified remembrance for victims of Gaza conflict

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Saturday 20th December 2014

A VIGIL to remember those killed in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza this year was held in Carfax, Oxford.

'Violent bully' from Witney found guilty of extorting money

Oxford Mail: Oxford Crown Court

9:00am Saturday 20th December 2014

A “VIOLENT bully” has been found guilty of forcing a man to hand over his wages for seven months by a jury in Oxford Crown Court.

Ex-children's home head convicted of abusing boys

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Saturday 20th December 2014

THE former boss of an Oxfordshire children’s home has been convicted of sexually abusing boys during the 1970s and 1980s.

Comments (0)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree