Peterborough City Council 2022: Labour group leader Shaz Nawaz says 'some kind' of Labour-run administration 'very real possibility'

Councillor Nawaz also said that more needs to be done to tackle ‘huge amount of voter apathy’

By Robert Alexander
Friday, 6th May 2022, 6:19 pm

The leader of the Labour Group, councillor Shaz Nawaz, has said the results have moved the party in the direction they wanted to go – despite only gaining one seat.

The Labour Group were expected to make significant gains but only ended the night with one more seat than they started with.

They took North ward from the Conservatives, with Noreen Bi beating Akim Akim to take the seat of Shazia Bashir, who moved to contest Park ward.

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The Labour Group pictured at the Peterborough City Council local election count at the East of England Arena on 5 May - with Labour Group leader Shaz Nawaz wearing light blue suit (image: David Lowndes)

But Peterborough City Council still remains under no overall control after no parties made any major gains in the 2022 Local Elections.

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‘Candidates worked so hard’

Councillor Nawaz said: “If you look at the vote-bank compared to last year or even the year before – as last year was a bit of an anomaly with the ‘vaccine bounce’ – we’ve increased our vote share, which is fantastic, but it still wasn’t enough for us to get over the line in some of the wards.

“So, obviously, more work needs to be done, but, again, this is a good strong platform for us to build upon.

“I am a little bit disappointed because the candidates worked so hard, and they deserved to win.

“Yes, they’ve increased their vote-bank, so it’s’ always nice to see candidates who’ve put in a lot of work get the fruits of their labour.

“I am disappointed for them, especially Wendy Smith in Orton Longueville – she’s been working incredibly hard, and to lose by just 17 votes (804 votes, to Michael Perkins 823 votes) is heart-breaking.

“But they’ll all be proud of the work that they’ve done, and they will come back next year even stronger.”

‘Politicians need to gain people’s trust’

Asked where the campaign went wrong and if there was more that could have perhaps been done, councillor Nawaz responded: “You can always campaign harder, you can always talk to more people and put out more leaflets and knock on more doors.

“I think that one big factor in this campaign has been something which I can’t solve on my own and which I have mentioned in my latest article in the Peterborough Telegraph which only came out on Thursday, and that there is a huge amount of voter apathy.

“People, unfortunately, don’t trust politicians – either locally or nationally – and so they think that staying at home is right and they don’t want to be engaged.

“I think what we need to so – collectively as politicians – is to gain the trust of the people, and get them to come out and vote.

“I we can do that – no matter who they vote for – just getting people involved would be a step in the right direction.”

‘Voter apathy’

“Voter apathy is something which I am very keen to address.

“However, its not all over until the fat lady sings – I’ve shared my vision with the other parties, and they know what a Labour-controlled administration with do.

“Between us all we have 32 seats and we only need 31 to form an administration so, I’ll be having that conversation with them all over the next week to ten days to see if they want to support us – and if they do, we can still form some kind of Labour-run administration – that’s a very real possibility.”

Labour’s gain in North was cancelled out by the Conservatives gaining Ravensthorpe from former Labour general election candidate, but now independent councillor, Ed Murphy, who was beaten into third place in his former ward.

The results means that the Conservatives remain on 28 seats and Labour move up from 16 to 17 seats.