LibLabIndie Love In Continues

Colchester Borough Council looks set to be run by another LibLabIndie coalition for the next two years following the all out elections that took place on Thursday.

Although the Conservatives have the largest number of Cllr’s, it is likely that the LibDems, Labour and Highwoods Indies will work together once again to keep the Tories out.

The final ward was declared shortly after 6am on Friday morning, leaving a tally of:

Conservatives 22

LibDems 15

Labour 11

Highwoods Indies 3

The full set of results are available over here.

It was a result that surprised many with some significant LibDem and Labour wins. Some observers were expecting the Conservatives to hit the magic number of 26 seats that would allow them to form an administration.

The LibDem group has a meeting scheduled for Saturday, with the Labour party getting together on Sunday evening.

Both parties will be forming their own internal strategies, before coming together to finalise how a new coalition might work.

The cards are stacked in Labour’s favour. The party previously held 9 seats when the Council had 60. To increase this to 11 with a reduced overall head count of 51 is an impressive achievement.

It points to a positive impact that Jeremy Corbyn is making in the party, with his message of democratic socialism playing out well around our patch.

It is perhaps the HighWoods Indies who have most to lose from the coalition. The group had 4 seats in the last Council, now reduced down to 3.

On the maths alone, a LibLab coalition doesn’t even need the Highwoods Indies to now help to vote through any policies.

It is unlikely though that the Indies would team up with the Tories, leaving a coalition of 29 Cllr’s against the 22 of the Conservatives.

There were some big winners and losers on a personal level throughout many of the wards.

Castle was always going to be a key battleground. LibDem Cabinet member Bill Frame lost his seat, along with his party colleague Jo Hayes.

The returning and refreshed Nick Barlow however kept the yellow flag flying in Castle ward, along with Tories John Ellis and Darius Laws.

Wivenhoe was another key battleground. The Tories failed to make an impact, with Labour taking two seats with Cyril Liddy and Rosalind Scott, plus a highly unexpected win for LibDem Mark Cory.

This was one of the most emotional moments of the night. The boundary changes leading to a merged Wivenhoe ward didn’t seem to favour Cory. He campaigned well on local issues, allowing him to push Labour’s Phil Finn into fourth place.

Having jumped wards from Wivenhoe to Stanway, Jon Manning of the Lib Dems was another big name to fall.

Julia Havis and Justin Knight are two other LibDem’s who were pushed aside by their likely coalition partners in the new Old Heath and Hythe ward.

Conservative Ben Locker fell victim to boundary changes in Mile End that favoured the LibDems.

Green Mark Goacher came incredibly close to delivering the breakthrough seat for his party at the Borough Council. He fell just 21 votes short of being elected in Castle ward.

Assuming that the Cabinet remains with nine Portfolio Holders, the composition should be made up of 5 LibDems, 3 Labour Cllr’s and 1 Highwoods Indie.

It will be interesting to see if Sir Bob Russell is still keen to push ahead with his plans to abandon the Cabinet system and revert to a more cross-party Committee system.

Once the Cabinet has been confirmed, some pretty major decisions will need to be taken straight away.

The Local Plan is being revised, leading to policy about where development can and can’t take place around Colchester. Don’t expect Tollgate Village to fit into these ideas. The re-election of the LibLabIndie Cabinet will just further the resolve to prevent the development form taking pace.

The Waste and Re-cycling consultation results should also be made public in the next few weeks. The Cabinet had decided to sit on these until after the 2016 elections.

And so after a bit of a damp squib of an election campaign, Colchester is waking up on Friday morning to find that not a great deal has changed.

Some key players have moved on, whilst Labour has been boosted by the Corbyn appeal.

It will be the Colchester Conservatives however who will be left scratching their heads once again, thinking how they have been kept out of power, despite having the largest number of Cllr’s.