While no-one was turning cartwheels by gaining an overall majority, Labour will be much the happier party following Calderdale Council’s May 2018 elections.
Calderdale remains no overall control but Labour, who have been running the council on a minority basis, remain the largest party having gained one net seat.
With the majority of the 17 seats on offer this year being held, some more comfortably than others, the few gains swirled back and forwards and at the end of the day Labour were delighted to finish one up.
The state of the parties is now Labour 24 seats (up one), Conservatives 20 (down one), Liberal Democrats six (up one) and Independents one (down one).
The Conservatives would have been more hopeful and suffered the biggest shock of the day at the North Bridge Leisure Centre, Halifax, count when Labour took Skircoat ward for what is believed to be the first time in Calderdale’s 44 year history.
Labour’s Colin Hutchinson ousted senior Conservative Andrew Tagg by just 54 votes in the closest race of the day.
Steven Leigh made a gain for the Conservatives when he edged out defending candidate Rob Holden, who had switched from the party to an Independent banner in Ryburn.
It was a close run thing, just 149 votes in it, but the flag of independence is still flying in Hipperholme and Lightcliffe where Colin Raistrick fended off a challenge from Conservative James Pillai to retain his seat with a 217 majority.
The Conservatives fell to a Labour push in Luddenden Foot, Jill Smith-Moorhouse losing out to Scott Patient by 558 votes, while the Liberal Democrats will be pleased with their work in Warley ward, gaining the seat from Labour.
Marilyn Greenwood also held her Greetland and Stainland seat for the party, but elsewhere signs of a major Liberal Democrat revival were harder to find even in wards like Calder and Todmorden which have won them representation in the past.
On the evidence of this poll, it is not obvious where the UKIP vote, significant the last time all 17 seats were up for grabs at a Calderdale election two years ago, went.
And the Green Party did not take any major share on a day when support for the two largest parties, Labour and Conservative, largely held up.
Perhaps an early indicator of the way the count was going came when one of the day’s biggest cheers went up from Labour when Angie Gallagher held the Elland seat fending off a strong Conservative challenge, David Collins just 90 votes behind.
At the end of the day, it was Labour leader Tim Swift who was wearing the widest smile.