Peterborough City Council leader Marco Cereste loses Stanground election

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Peterborough City Council leader Marco Cereste has lost his seat as councillor for Stanground Central.

Conservative Mr Cereste picked up 18 per cent of the vote in the ward in today’s election (Friday, May 8).

There were two seats available, which were won by Conservative Raymond Bisby and UKIP candidate John Whitby

Mr Cereste picked up 1,418 votes - while Mr Bisby picked up 1,731 and Mr Whitby scored 1,560.

The election results saw the Conservatives lose another seat, meaning they are now two away from boasting a majority in the 57-seat council.

Speaking after the result, an upbeat Mr Cereste said he was looking forward to spending more time with wife Maddalena and four children (aged two, six, 37 and 32) after six years as city council leader.

Former council leader Marco Cereste (second from left) who lost his seat EMN-150805-132220009

Former council leader Marco Cereste (second from left) who lost his seat EMN-150805-132220009

Reflecting on his own time as the leader, Mr Cereste said: “I think history will make its own mind up. The people of this city know what I have done for it and they will decide how I’ve done.

“It’s been a really interesting, fascinating and rewarding six years, and if there’s an advantage to losing it’s that I can go back to my children, my wife and my businesses.

“It’s disappointing to lose but luckily I have a life with lots of loved ones and nice things to do.”

Asked to describe his achievements as council leader, a proud Mr Cereste said: “We have taken the city into the 22nd century. If you look around the public realm is beautiful.

“The people in this city have the fastest internet speeds in the world.

“We’ve created 16,000 jobs and brought in billions of pounds of investment.”

On the reasoning for his defeat, Mr Cereste believed people had not realised they had two votes and had therefore voted for fellow Conservative Mr Bisby.

Mr Cereste added: “Losing is never a nice experience but it’s not something I wasn’t expecting.

“When I saw the number of UKIP posters around my ward and I saw the votes being sorted last night, I saw there was a threat.”

Mr Cereste, who took over as leader from Councillor John Peach, survived a bid to oust him from power last year.

Stewart Jackson, who was re-elected as Peterborough MP on Friday morning, said: “He was a big figure. He has flair and passion, but politics is a risky business.

“When you set yourself up as a powerful leader you run the risk of being defeated.

“I am sorry when any Conservative has lost but Marco has other things in his life like his family and he can focus on that in the future.

“The Conservatives need to re-group now and choose a new leader.”

But Conservative councillor David Sanders, who represents the Eye and Thorney ward, said he felt the time was right for a new leader for the party in the city. He said: “The facts speak for themselves. The local Conservatives under his leadership have lost council seats every year since he took over.

“We have been long overdue a change in leadership. I hope the new leader will have new vision and goals that will hopefully benefit the citizens of Peterborough.”

The deputy leader in the Conservative-run cabinet is Cllr John Holdich.

There were 20 seats up for grabs in 19 wards in the council elections.

The Conservatives overall lost two seats (Paston and Stanground Central) and gained one after their candidate Andy Coles defeated independent Mike Fletcher in Bretton South.

The party also held on to Fletton & Woodston and Orton Waterville despite having to field new candidates to both wards.

Jonas Yonga gained Paston for Labour, meaning Mr Cereste was the only serving councillor to be defeated in a vote.

In 2016, every councillor in the city is up for re-election following changes by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England.

With three new seats being added, there will be 60 positions available across the authority.

For the full results of the 2015 Peterborough City Council election, see: https://www.peterborough.gov.uk/council/elections/elections-2015-local-government-election-results/.

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