Seven up for Labour as party dominates

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LABOUR stormed to victory in Calderdale, with the party gaining seven seats, making it the largest party with a total of 20 councillors.

It was a long way from the dismal days of 2008 when Labour could boast just nine seats on the local authority, leaving it as the third party.

A delighted Labour leader, Tim Swift, said: “It’s a wonderful result for us. This morning I thought winning four to five seats would have been a good result so to win seven was more than we could have hoped for.”

The Conservatives lost four seats, leaving them on 17 while the Lib Dems lost one seat overall, giving them 12. Two Independents also lost their seats.

The leader of the council and the Lib Dems, Janet Battye, hung on to her seat following a close fight in Calder.

How Calderdale is governed from now on is very much up for grabs. For the last two years the Lib Dems and Labour have formed a pact but there is no guarantee that will continue.

Perhaps the most relieved man in the elections was John Hardy, the Conservative candidate for Skircoat, who as mayor-elect had a fight on his hands against the Lib Dems’ Stephen Gow.

In the end, he won comfortably but there was no mistaking his delight in knowing the position of mayor is now his.

He said: “In December I was mayor-elect subject to re-election. It’s good to know that on May 23 I will be mayor.

“I have been involved in public life since 1972 and so I am very happy that I can serve the people of Calderdale in the forthcoming year.”

The result of the day, however, had to be in the Park ward where Jenny Lynn swept in with the biggest majority on the entire council.