Opponents tumble as Tories enjoy Huntingdonshire District Council “bluewash”
- Credit: Archant
The Conservatives increased their grip on Huntingdonshire District Council in what leader Councillor Jason Ablewhite described as a “bluewash”.
Tory candidates took 16 out of the 18 seats being contested, including unseating Ukip’s Ian Curtis in Ramsey and Lib Dem group leader Mike Baker in Ellington.
Cllr Ablewhite said: “I think we have seen the tide come in with Ukip and now we’re seeing the tide definitely going out.
“To take a seat in the Ukip heartland of Ramsey was a phenomenal result.
“We have also taken the Lib Dem leader out.
“We have made a net gain and my group are absolutely buzzing.
“I think it proves that as a Conservative administration, both nationally and, importantly, at a local level, we have a clear mandate - people are pleased with what we are doing, pleased we are reducing our overheads and more more efficient without affecting services and at the same time pledging to continue to freeze council tax.”
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He said HDC was a good council and provided excellent services and would continue to do so under his leadership.
Over the next year, work would need to be done on saving a further £2million by 2020, he added. “With the process we are putting in place: zero-based budgeting, investment in our commercial estate, we will be able to reach that target without any further severe cuts in our services.
“You can never rule anything out, but the way we are placed financially, as one of the strongest financially in Cambridgeshire, if not the best, I do not think we will have to cut any frontline services at all.”
Mr Curtis, who lost his Ramsey seat to Tory John Palmer, said: “People came out who wanted to stop the SNP and it’s back-fired on us.
“They voted Conservative in one and did the same in the other.
“I’m a little bit disappointed but I shall come back and have another crack.”
A blip for the Tories was the loss of Alan Mackender-Lawrence, who was the district council chairman, a position which will be re-allocated at the Conservative’s group AGM later this month. He lost out in the battle for Huntingdon North to Labour’s George Leedo, a victory which doubled the number of seats the party has on HDC.