Opinion: ​A time to recover, regroup and rebuild

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In terms of the numbers of seats changing hands on May 2 it was a very disappointing night for the Conservatives locally, writes Conservative group leader Wayne Fitzgerald.

However, the margins were so small in many wards it was agonising for many of us to watch. For example, we did not win in Dogsthorpe by only 6 votes or in Eye, Thorney and Newborough by only 9 votes, and in Park ward just 2 votes won it for Labour. Not exactly a crushing defeat for us. The Conservatives though still won the popular vote overall in that more people voted for the Conservatives right across the city which was encouraging and must be disappointing for Labour.

The national frustration we encountered on the doorstep clearly had a knock-on effect on our vote in that many people just did not bother to come out, and the lower turnout numbers confirm this, and others voted anything but Conservative in a protest vote.

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In certain areas of the city the Greens also picked up a small number of votes primarily from the Muslim / Asian community as many of their candidates were standing on a pro-Palestine platform. This certainly cost us votes in a few areas particularly in Park Ward where we lost that seat by 2 votes.

Conservative group leader Wayne FitzgeraldConservative group leader Wayne Fitzgerald
Conservative group leader Wayne Fitzgerald

We will though continue to put our Conservative policies, ideology and thinking back to the people of Peterborough in the upcoming general election and beyond.

People have also been asking me what now for Peterborough. Labour were lucky to pick up 5 seats overall but it now makes them the largest political party on the city council and now it’s been confirmed on Monday last that Dennis Jones, their leader, has finally stepped up to be leader of the council. Be assured we will hold him to account in the months ahead.

As for Peterborough First they are a busted flush as we always predicted with Mohammed Farooq, the

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ex-leader, consigned to the political scrapheap hopefully forever.

The new Labour 24/25 administration needs to answer some key questions right now.

When is the promised new 50 metre swimming pool coming, when will you get a grip of children’s

services and come clean to say whether you will be selling or closing the community assets currently under review?

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Also, what are you doing about the Hilton Hotel situation will it ever be finished?

Will you be helping Peterborough United find a new home, will you save Werrington Fields and when will you fix the bridges at Cuckoo’s Hollow?

How will you improve the City Centre and rid the streets of aggressive beggars and stop it looking like a shanty town? We could go on.

As for me and the immediate future. I’m sure my political opponents will be extremely disappointed to learn that I was unanimously re-elected as the Conservative Group Leader for Peterborough City Council at our AGM held on May 7th. I am grateful for the continued support of my fellow Councillors / group members.

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It is certainly a tough time right now to be a Conservative but my core principles, beliefs and values remain the same as ever and I will continue to champion the Conservative cause.

We can now take time to reflect and focus on holding the opposition to account for their actions in the city.

In closing I would like to give my personal thanks to the many teams at the council involved in the elections. As ever a very professional and dedicated bunch of people worked their socks off to make it all happen on the day. Well, done to you all.