OXFORD ELECTIONS: It's Labour's day as Lib Dem vote slumps

Scott Seamons

Scott Seamons

First published in News
Last updated
Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Council Reporter, also covering Oxford city centre. Call me on 01865 425429

LABOUR strengthened its hold on Oxford City Council yesterday, increasing its already large majority.

Twenty-five of the council’s 48 seats were up for election on Thursday and the results were totted up during a tense count in the Town Hall.

There were loud cheers around the room as Labour held on to 14 of its seats and gained an extra three from both the Greens and the Lib Dems.

It means the party now controls 33 of the council’s seats and has a commanding majority.

Meanwhile the Lib Dems lost four seats and the Greens ended the day with one seat more than it started with. They now have eight and six seats respectively.

The Conservatives, who have failed to win a council election in Oxford since 2002, were unable to make a breakthrough and neither was UKIP.

Housing was one of the big issues in this year’s election, with a recent report saying Oxford needs 28,000 more homes by 2031.

Scott Seamons, the city executive board member for housing, won his seat of Northfield Brook for Labour with a majority of nearly 600.

He said: “I am enormously pleased to be re-elected to the city council. Being re-elected is as rewarding because it is a reflection on the work I have done over the last four years.

“If you look back at last September we passed planning permission for more new council houses than we have done in decades and that’s what is really going to changes people’s lives.”

Oxford Mail:

  • Hugging her friend Emma Bausch and brimming with tears, Labour’s delighted Farida Anwar, left, was staggered by her election win. The new city councillor for Headington Hill and Northway’s reaction sums up a day of drama and emotion after polls closed

Tom Hayes won St Clement’s for Labour, with a majority of more than 300, beating the incumbent Lib Dem councillor Graham Jones and fending off a close challenge from the Greens, who came second.

And Richard Tarver also won Iffley Fields for Labour, beating the Greens, who held the seat, by 82 votes.

Labour’s Christine Simm also won in Cowley, replacing outgoing Shah Khan.

But independent candidate Artwell, who campaigned on the issue of the planned closure of Temple Cowley Pools, came second with 373 votes, beating the Conservatives, Lib Dems and Greens.

He said: “I am gutted that the Labour Party, who want to turn Temple Cowley Pools into a block of flats, won and I am disappointed for the people of Oxford and for myself.”

Two of Oxford’s city centre wards changed hands with Carfax and Holywell, both previously held by the Lib Dems, turning Green.

Ruthi Brandt won a fierce battle against Labour’s Alex Hollingsworth for Carfax, where Lib Dem incumbent Tony Brett – who had been Deputy Lord Mayor – came third with only 276 votes.

She said: “The Green Party has strong progressive views which I think people are looking for nowadays and the old parties are just saying the same things as each other.”

The Lib Dems managed to hold on to a number of their strongholds in North Oxford and Headington, including St Margaret’s, where Liz Wade held on to the seat which had been vacated by veteran councillor Jim Campbell despite a challenge by Labour, who overtook the Conservatives to come second.

She said: “I think the results show we have a local team that is working hard and we can achieve the sort of results we want.”

UKIP came second in a number of seats, including Barton and Sandhills, Blackbird Leys and Churchill, but they were still several hundred votes from actually winning these seats.

Ian McDonald, pictured, the party’s Oxford chairman who stood in Barton and Sandhills, said: “People are making a very clear message about where they stand on the Europe question and a lot of people are showing their protest against the current Labour council.

“I think this gives us something to build on for the future and in those seats we have come second we have become the voice of the opposition.”

There was a turnout of 37 per cent in the city council election and 38 per cent in the European Parliament election.

European Parliament results will be counted tomorrow once polls have closed across the continent.

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Comments (9)

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7:51am Sat 24 May 14

Christine Hovis says...

I think it’s much worse for the Lib Dem than Jean Fooks thinks it is.

First, they only got 19% of the vote (and that’s with Summertown having two elections). As Dick Wolfe says, that puts them third in terms of the overall vote.

Second, they held on in the leafy suburbs, but lost really badly elsewhere. They were only second in one seat: Quarry & Rissinghurst. They were last in the following (behind the major parties inc UKIP): Barton & Sandhills, Blackbird Leys, Carfax, Churchill, Cowley, Cowley Marsh, Headington Hill & Northway, Holywell, Littemore, Lye Valley, Marston, Northfield Brook, and St Mary’s. Many times they were a distant last with fewer than 100 votes.

They appear to have lost any ambition to run the council; they had precious few policies – more consultation mainly – and often retreated to their safe ground of community activism. In Headington that meant resting on old campaigns to keep redundant features, and downplaying the ‘Liberal Democrats’ as much as humanly possible.
I think it’s much worse for the Lib Dem than Jean Fooks thinks it is. First, they only got 19% of the vote (and that’s with Summertown having two elections). As Dick Wolfe says, that puts them third in terms of the overall vote. Second, they held on in the leafy suburbs, but lost really badly elsewhere. They were only second in one seat: Quarry & Rissinghurst. They were last in the following (behind the major parties inc UKIP): Barton & Sandhills, Blackbird Leys, Carfax, Churchill, Cowley, Cowley Marsh, Headington Hill & Northway, Holywell, Littemore, Lye Valley, Marston, Northfield Brook, and St Mary’s. Many times they were a distant last with fewer than 100 votes. They appear to have lost any ambition to run the council; they had precious few policies – more consultation mainly – and often retreated to their safe ground of community activism. In Headington that meant resting on old campaigns to keep redundant features, and downplaying the ‘Liberal Democrats’ as much as humanly possible. Christine Hovis
  • Score: 2

5:37pm Sat 24 May 14

Bertrand_Russell says...

"Ruthi Brandt won a fierce battle against Labour’s Alex Hollingsworth for Carfax, where Lib Dem incumbent Tony Brett – who had been Deputy Lord Mayor – came third with only 276 votes. "

The last part of this sentence is WRONG. Tony Brett came FOURTH as he was beaten by the Greens, Labour, AND the Tories.

I hear privately that Tony Brett said that he was a Lib Dem in a student ward and so had little chance. Carfax residents apparently liked him, but still, if I'd been him, I would have stood down like Stephen Brown...
"Ruthi Brandt won a fierce battle against Labour’s Alex Hollingsworth for Carfax, where Lib Dem incumbent Tony Brett – who had been Deputy Lord Mayor – came third with only 276 votes. " The last part of this sentence is WRONG. Tony Brett came FOURTH as he was beaten by the Greens, Labour, AND the Tories. I hear privately that Tony Brett said that he was a Lib Dem in a student ward and so had little chance. Carfax residents apparently liked him, but still, if I'd been him, I would have stood down like Stephen Brown... Bertrand_Russell
  • Score: 0

6:45pm Sat 24 May 14

deedee444 says...

Nick Clegg has put a big fat immovable nail in the coffin of the Lib Dem liars party............the
y may as well not bother wasting peoples votes anymore.......Tory toiletpaper.
Nick Clegg has put a big fat immovable nail in the coffin of the Lib Dem liars party............the y may as well not bother wasting peoples votes anymore.......Tory toiletpaper. deedee444
  • Score: 0

8:56pm Sat 24 May 14

Myron Blatz says...

Sad day indeed when Cllr Fooks is now one of Oxford's key LibDems, and (current) MEP Catherine Bearder has to parachute-in her family to fill the holes which resignations and Ward defeats have forced upon the Oxford LibDems - a Party which seems increasingly to have past its sell-by date at national and local levels.
Sad day indeed when Cllr Fooks is now one of Oxford's key LibDems, and (current) MEP Catherine Bearder has to parachute-in her family to fill the holes which resignations and Ward defeats have forced upon the Oxford LibDems - a Party which seems increasingly to have past its sell-by date at national and local levels. Myron Blatz
  • Score: 2

3:30pm Sun 25 May 14

mytaxes says...

Sad day when there is no real opposition to this Labour council who will continue to raise council tax and force many out of Oxford.
Sad day when there is no real opposition to this Labour council who will continue to raise council tax and force many out of Oxford. mytaxes
  • Score: 0

6:14pm Sun 25 May 14

Lord Palmerstone says...

I never hear anyone say they voted Labour. It must be a secret vice, like breaking wind and blaming it on the dog.
I never hear anyone say they voted Labour. It must be a secret vice, like breaking wind and blaming it on the dog. Lord Palmerstone
  • Score: 1

9:49pm Mon 26 May 14

Christine Hovis says...

Myron Blatz wrote:
Sad day indeed when Cllr Fooks is now one of Oxford's key LibDems, and (current) MEP Catherine Bearder has to parachute-in her family to fill the holes which resignations and Ward defeats have forced upon the Oxford LibDems - a Party which seems increasingly to have past its sell-by date at national and local levels.
A fair number of the people on the ballot for the Lib Dems were reputed to be place-people, with the party unable even to get a biography out of them for their website. No wonder they polled fewer than 100 votes in many wards. Around us, we only ever saw the councillors doing leafleting - I reckon the party's base has been shot to pieces.
[quote][p][bold]Myron Blatz[/bold] wrote: Sad day indeed when Cllr Fooks is now one of Oxford's key LibDems, and (current) MEP Catherine Bearder has to parachute-in her family to fill the holes which resignations and Ward defeats have forced upon the Oxford LibDems - a Party which seems increasingly to have past its sell-by date at national and local levels.[/p][/quote]A fair number of the people on the ballot for the Lib Dems were reputed to be place-people, with the party unable even to get a biography out of them for their website. No wonder they polled fewer than 100 votes in many wards. Around us, we only ever saw the councillors doing leafleting - I reckon the party's base has been shot to pieces. Christine Hovis
  • Score: 1

1:59am Tue 27 May 14

HomerSimpsonDoh says...

mytaxes wrote:
Sad day when there is no real opposition to this Labour council who will continue to raise council tax and force many out of Oxford.
Who have they forced out of Oxford??? It's the Tory snobs that are doing that, by not building enough affordable homes! doh
[quote][p][bold]mytaxes[/bold] wrote: Sad day when there is no real opposition to this Labour council who will continue to raise council tax and force many out of Oxford.[/p][/quote]Who have they forced out of Oxford??? It's the Tory snobs that are doing that, by not building enough affordable homes! doh HomerSimpsonDoh
  • Score: -1

8:18am Tue 27 May 14

Lord Palmerstone says...

HomerSimpsonDoh wrote:
mytaxes wrote:
Sad day when there is no real opposition to this Labour council who will continue to raise council tax and force many out of Oxford.
Who have they forced out of Oxford??? It's the Tory snobs that are doing that, by not building enough affordable homes! doh
Yep right. Houses are not selling because they're not affordable and estate agents are redundant (boo hoo) If you mean subsidised homes then be a big boy and say the words, then tell me why I should subsidise your home and how we should choose the privileged elite to live in subsidised homes. And if you know of anything more snobby than a socialist who thinks it's being "compassionate" spending other people's money on its chosen elite, let me know.
[quote][p][bold]HomerSimpsonDoh[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]mytaxes[/bold] wrote: Sad day when there is no real opposition to this Labour council who will continue to raise council tax and force many out of Oxford.[/p][/quote]Who have they forced out of Oxford??? It's the Tory snobs that are doing that, by not building enough affordable homes! doh[/p][/quote]Yep right. Houses are not selling because they're not affordable and estate agents are redundant (boo hoo) If you mean subsidised homes then be a big boy and say the words, then tell me why I should subsidise your home and how we should choose the privileged elite to live in subsidised homes. And if you know of anything more snobby than a socialist who thinks it's being "compassionate" spending other people's money on its chosen elite, let me know. Lord Palmerstone
  • Score: 1

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