LOCAL ELECTIONS: Peterborough remains under no overall control despite Conservative gain
The Conservatives have failed to regain their majority at Peterborough City Council despite making a gain at the local elections.
The Tories have been in power since 1999 but for the past two years have relied on the support of the three Werrington First councillors after the authority went into no over control.
That position is likely to remain the case for at least another 12 months after winning 16 out of the 23 seats up for grabs which has dashed the hopes of the opposition groups who had hoped to form a rainbow coalition.
The result means the Conservatives now hold 29 of the 60 seats at the Town Hall after gaining one councillor in elections delayed by a year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The party - who were defending a majority of the seats - will choose a new leader next week due to the retirement of Cllr John Holdich.
It was a disappointing afternoon at the East of England Arena and Events Centre for Labour who failed to make any gains.
The party lost their final seat in Bretton to the Conservatives while the Tories also made gains in: Fletton & Stanground, Gunthorpe and Dogsthorpe.
The Conservatives were on course for a majority until losing seats in Fletton & Woodston to Labour and Orton Waterville to the Greens in the last two results of the afternoon.
Labour also took a seat off the Conservatives in North ward.
Victory in Orton Waterville means the Greens have won all three seats in the ward in consecutive elections having previously never won a seat in Peterborough.
Dogsthorpe was taken by Conservative candidate Ishfaq Hussain who has reportedly been suspended by the party for alleged antisemitic comments on Facebook, although the Tories have failed to respond to requests for comment.
The Liberal Democrats have made gains in recent years but this time lost Fletton & Stanground for an overall net loss of one seat.
The Lib Dems now only hold eight seats, while Labour hold 17, although nine of their councillors have been suspended by the party which is investigating allegations of antisemitism.
There was an absence of major names departing the Town Hall like in previous years, with Labour leader Shaz Nawaz (Park) and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Sandford (Paston & Walton) both retaining their seats.
Cabinet member for children’s services, education, skills and the university, Lynne Ayres, easily won in West ward, while there will be a father and son combination in the Council Chamber after Saqib Farooq won Cllr Holdich’s vacant Glinton & Castor seat.
His father is Mohammed Farooq, cabinet member for digital services and transformation.
No candidate for a minority party, or any independent, won a seat. However, John Fox (Werrington First) retained his seat in Werrington.
One of the high profile contests was in Fletton & Woodston where two seats were being contested following the death of Louise Coles.
Her husband Andy Coles (Conservative) has been the subject of protests after his past as an undercover cop was revealed, but he kept hold of his seat. Despite that, Imtiaz Ali (Labour and Co-operative) took the second seat, ahead of his colleague Lisa Forbes, the former MP for Peterborough.
Balance of seats
Conservatives - 29 (+1)
Labour/Labour and Co-operative - 17 (-)
Lib Dems - 8 (-1)
Werrington First - 3
Green Party - 3 (+1)