Labour group leader on Calderdale Council Tim Swift hailed his party’s results – winning overall control of the council for the first time in 20 years – as “astonishing”.
He said Labour had been confident of taking overall control of Calderdale, with some uncertainty thrown into the mix when results from across the country began coming in through Thursday night in a pattern which appeared to indicate both main parties were being punished because of the situation with Brexit.
But with four gains and six holds it was Labour’s day in Calderdale and was at the top end of the party’s hopes, said Coun Swift.
“That was absolutely the best we were hoping for.
“We were targeting four potential gains and needed two for an overall majority.
“To win all four and defend all the other seats is an astonishing result,” he said.
It means the party have a majority of five over all other parties and independent councillors.
Coun Swift said until this week, leading up to the poll, the party was confident of winning an overall majority.
“The big unknown was how the public uncertainty over Brexit was going to play out,” he said.
Seeing the Thursday night results brought in a bit of doubt but in Calderdale did not transpire as far as Labour was concerned, although it was an issue on the doorstep, he said.
“We have tried to say look, we understand why people feel unhappy about national politics but at the end of the day it is still about services run locally and who is running them and we were the only one sending out a positive vision about the kind of place Calderdale is.
“I think people welcomed that positive message,” said Coun Swift.
Coun Swift said Labour locally knew national issues make a difference to local campaigns.
“But we were always clear that there is a strong reason for people to vote Labour in Calderdale if they want better services now and in the future,” he said.
Recognising the national factors which existed and people’s unhappiness, he said that as politicians: “We all want to win back those people’s trust.”