Calderdale election results: Political leaders react to results as Labour remain in control

Labour group leader Tim Swift is delighted at his party’s performance in retaining control of Calderdale Council following the local elections.

By John Greenwood - Local Democracy Reporter
Monday, 10th May 2021, 10:47 am
Updated Monday, 10th May 2021, 10:48 am
Local election count at North Bridge Leisure Centre, Halifax. Councillor Jane Scullion, Labour, Luddendenfoot.
Local election count at North Bridge Leisure Centre, Halifax. Councillor Jane Scullion, Labour, Luddendenfoot.

Labour held seven of the eight seats it was defending and gained another, meaning the party keeps its majority of five over all other groups and parties for the next year.

“Particularly given the national context our number one priority was to retain an overall majority and we have done that,” he said.

Coun Swift (Lab, Town) said the party was disappointed to lose Illingworth and Mixenden in which it nevertheless finished a very close second and Labour almost took Elland ward, he said.

Sign up to our daily Halifax Courier Today newsletter

He said Labour had a good local organisation with hard-working councillors and candidates closely connected to their communities, it had a positive vision for Calderdale and people had appreciated what it had done in the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are pleased with our majority and will look to build on that.

“We know there are going to be some big challenges but we are proud Calderdale is a great place to live and we want to build on that sense of hope for people,” he said.

Conservative group leader Steven Leigh also felt his party had a good election, gaining four seats including Illingworth and Mixenden at Labour’s expense, also coming close in Ovenden which he said the party would target next year.

“We are absolutely delighted and were close in a couple of wards.

“We are on the right track and I do think it is a vindication of Conservative policy and ideas.

“It’s a good base to work from,” he said.

Coun Leigh (Con, Ryburn) said the Conservatives had given a voice to people who felt their views on Brexit were not listened to.

Locally, he said an important role he expected to play in the coming weeks and months was actively lobbying against the draft Local Plan, with the third series of hearings set to begin.

Calderdale Council’s Liberal Democrat Group Leader says his party is looking forward to getting out and engaging with people as the country emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The party lost two seats in last week’s local council elections, in Elland, where the experienced Pat Allen lost out to returning veteran Conservative John Ford, and the second of the two Greetland and Stainland seats being contested.

Although Liberal Democrat Paul Bellenger held his seat comfortably, topping the poll, the party’s other candidate, Alex Parsons-Hulse, was edged out by Conservative Jacob Cook, with only 23 votes separating the two.

The group’s Deputy Leader Ashley Evans was comfortably returned to his Warley seat.

Group leader Coun James Baker (Warley) paid tribute to Pat Allen’s work for Elland people over more than two decades and said the party was keen to get back out into their communities.

The Liberal Democrats are perhaps the party which most grows much of its support by grass roots campaigning and during the pandemic they have been unable to do this.

Coun Baker said: “We would like to thank everyone who voted for us.

“As we emerge from the pandemic we are keen to get back out campaigning and engaging in community politics and taking up the issues Calderdale residents raise with us on the doorstep.

“I’d also like to thank Pat Allen for her 22 years of public service representing the people of Elland.”