Council leader says it’s ‘business as usual’ despite seeing majority cut by opposition groups


- Credit: Archant

Elections to Huntingdonshire District Council proved to be a bit of a shocker for the controlling Conservative group, which ended up four seats down on the night, losing cabinet members Daryl Brown and Stephen Cawley in the Stukeleys.

UKIP suffered a complete wipe-out, with party stalwart Pete Reeve losing his seat in the party’s former Ramsey stronghold.

But Labour was celebrating after doubling its number of councillors from two to four, winning in Huntingdon North and St Neots East, where Dr Nik Johnson took a seat.

There was also good news for the Liberal Democrats who finished one up on the night and there are also 11 independent councillors, an increase from the last election.

The Conservatives now have a reduced majority of eight which means the party will have to work harder to push its policies through. There are now seven Lib Dems, but independents could form the official opposition if they come up with a working alliance.

Councillor Graham Bull, council leader, said: “As far as I am concerned it is business as usual.

“We have still got a working majority and we are going to carry on bringing in our innovative policies for the people of Huntingdonshire.”

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Cllr Bull said it was the first “all out” election for the council in nearly 15 years which, combined with boundary changes, may have made a difference and that although it was sad to lose experienced councillors, they would be back.

Liberal Democrat Councillor Sarah Conboy said: “We are very pleased with the outcome and we had some very strong ‘nearly got theres’.”

She said the Lib Dems were now the biggest single opposition group but was not sure how the independents would divide up.

Labour’s Patrick Kadewere said: “We are very, very pleased.”

He said the ward now covered the town centre where there was concern about the types of shopping available and empty shops.

“Although we only have four councillors we are going to fight to make things happen. Huntingdon town centre is shrinking and we don’t want that to happen.”

Pete Reeve said UKIP would still be active in the community, despite losing its representation.

He said: “We do not need to be on the council to make a difference in the community. In some ways it is easier to be more effective because we are not bound by council etiquette.”

Cllr Reeve he was saddened personally to lose his seat.

Cllr Barry Chapman, a St Neots independent, said: “I am very pleased at the rise of the independents which I think is testament to putting people before politics.”