Peterborough local elections: Who will be in charge of the council and when we will know?

Following the local elections in Peterborough on Thursday (May 5), it is still not clear who the next leader of the council will be.

By Ben Jones
Monday, 9th May 2022, 3:37 pm
The Conservative Group will be looking to continue its control of the council, which it has had since 2000.
The Conservative Group will be looking to continue its control of the council, which it has had since 2000.

What changed on election night?

In short, very little. The Conservative group began the night on 28 seats and ended the night on 28 seats. The Labour group began on 16 seats given that Ed Murphy in Ravensthorpe has suspended his membership of the party. The group held all five seats officially under their control and also made a gain in North ward to end the night on 17 seats.

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How is the council controlled?

Peterborough City Council has 60 seats and if a party holds 31 of them then they automatically control the council and are free to form a cabinet.

Since 2019, the council has been under no overall control but the Conservatives have been the largest party. Their administration has been supported by the three independent Werrington First councillors.

In 2021, the party joined forces with Stanground South ward councillor Chris Harper, who resigned from the Conservative group, to form Peterborough First; meaning there were four councillors in the group.

The Conservatives are currently three seats short of a majority and would once again need the support of another party to control the council.

What could happen?

It is still possible for both the Conservative group, currently led by Cllr Wayne Fitzgerald, and the Labour group, currently led by Cllr Shaz Nawaz, to take control of the council.

If the Conservatives could persuade three Peterborough First councillors to support their administration then they would be able to form a cabinet.

If they can not, Labour may still be able to form a coalition between themselves the Liberal Democrats (8 seats), the Greens (3 seats) and Peterborough First (4 seats). The support of three Peterborough First councillors would be enough to see the coalition reach 31 seats.

It is extremely unlikely that either the Lib Dems or the Greens would support a Conservative administration, therefore, the best hope for them to keep power at the town hall would be continuing an alliance with Peterborough First.

John Fox is currently the group leader but is yet to comment on how the group will act and who its councillors might support.

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When will we know?

Control of the council should become clear at the first full council meeting of the new cycle on May 23, where a vote will take place to choose a new leader.

Statements may be made by councillors before then but nothing will be official before that date.

The majority of the parties are expected to be holding AGMs this week, where leaders will be confirmed and the future of the council inevitably discussed. The Conservative Group will be holding their AGM this evening (May 9).

The Green Party group has already confirmed that Cllr Nicola Day will be taking over from Cllr Julie Howell as leader.

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