Politics is a strange business. In spite of a fairly disastrous handling of the pandemic over the best part of a year, the superlative rollout of the vaccine programme seems to have saved the Conservative’s bacon – and across the country it’s been a fairly terrible result for Labour – and especially Kier Starmer in his first test a leader
In Suffolk, not surprisingly, the Conservatives have kept an overall majority on Suffolk County Council – but the Greens have had a good result – tripling their numbers to become the largest opposition party
The Tories headed into this year’s polls defending 50 of the 75 seats, and emerged from Friday’s results with an additional five.
Labour were reduced to five from eleven, the Greens went up from three to nine, and Liberal Democrats dropped from five to four . There are also two independents left from four previously
On our peninsula – in spite of much protest and disquiet over the swath of house building now underway on prime farm land – and opposition to the proposed Leisure Centre move from the seafront to Eastward Ho – all three Conservative incumbents held onto their seats
In Felixstowe Coastal Graham Newman and Steve Wiles both retained their seats with a substantial majority, but in Felixstowe North & Trimley Stuart Bird only just held on after a strong showing by Labour’s David Rowe.
Full result here:
Felixstowe Coastal (two seats): Graham Newman (C)* 3,335, Steve Wiles (C)* 3,073, Seamus Bennett (LD) 1,256, Margaret Morris (L) 1,223, Richard Reaville (L) 897, Jan Candy (LD) 874, Lesley Bennett (G) 748, Mark Jones (Com) 173. Turnout: 39.3%. Con hold.
Felixstowe North & Trimley: Stuart Bird (C)* 1,472, David Rowe (L) 1,094. Turnout: 31.7%. Con hold.
Over the rest of the region –In Ipswich the Conservatives had gains in key seats such as Gainsborough – where well known Ipswich borough councillor Liz Harsant pipped Stephen Connolly – and Gipping Valley where the Liberal Democrats’ incumbent John Field opted not to seek re-election.
However, there were some upsets too. Cabinet member for housing and economic development Nick Gowrley lost his seat to Keith Scraff (Liberal Democrat) – the same candidate who defeated him in the 2019 district elections, while the Greens ousted former Conservative council leader Mark Bee in Beccles.
The Green gains were largely in Mid Suffolk and in the north, including Mid Suffolk district councillors Keith Welham and Andy Mellen. Elsewhere their Sudbury candidate Jessie Carter was a shock winner in Sudbury with Simon Harley in Peninsula another gain. Halesworth was secured with just a couple of hundred votes.
Labour endured a tough day losing its seats in Sudbury and Gunton, as well as losing Gainsborough and one of the Whitton and Whitehouse places.
The party however did narrowly secure a return for former MP Sandy Martin to the county council, as he narrowly took the Rushmere division.