Liberal Democrat Group Leader James Baker believes the 2019 election results mean his party is back as a political force.
Coun Baker, who easily defended his Warley ward seat on Calderdale Council, was considering not just the Calderdale result, which saw Labour take sole control of the council where it now has a majority over other groups of five, but also parish politics and the national picture.
At Calderdale his party had targeted the Greetland and Stainland ward and regained the seat from the Conservatives, now holding all three seats in what was for many years a Liberal Democrat stronghold.
But he said the wider picture was as important in terms of the party regaining its strength following the years in coalition with the Conservatives nationally from 2010-2015.
Increasing Liberal Democrat representation on Todmorden Town Council and winning a majority on newly-established Stainland Parish Council was also important in developing the party’s grass roots politics, said Coun Baker.
Taken together with results throughout England, which saw the Liberal Democrats gain more than 700 council seats, it meant the party was back as a force locally and nationally, he believed.
“We are very pleased with the result. We achieved our target of a gain in Greetland and Stainland Ward.
“We have moved into second place in Todmorden, and doubled the size of our Town Council group there.
“We also gained a majority on the new Stainland Parish Council,” said Coun Baker.
“Nationally this has been a fantastic set of election results for our party.
“The Liberal Democrats are back as a political force.”
Coun Baker offered his congratulations to Labour leader Tim Swift and his party while the Liberal Democrats would focus on grass roots campaigning to help shape ideas which might change and improve local government in Calderdale.
“We congratulate Councillor Tim Swift and the Labour Party on gaining a majority on the council.
“We will be focusing on all year round grass-roots campaigning for which the Liberal Democrats are know and respected for.
“We also want to involve residents in helping us develop new ideas for transforming and improving local Government here in Calderdale,” said Coun Baker.