Express & Star

Conservatives lose full control of Cannock District Council with Labour mulling coalition

The Conservatives lost overall control of Cannock Chase District Council after having their lead slashed to just one over Labour.

Last updated
The future of Cannock Chase District Council is up in the air after the Conservative Party lost overall control of the council.

The Tories now have 18 seats on the council while Labour has 17, the Green Party has five and the Liberal Democrats have one.

It marks a stark contrast from before the election, when the Tories had 21 seats and Labour had 12 following gains at the last two district polls.

It is understood that Cannock's Labour councillors are now seeking negotiations to enter into a coalition with another party in order to take control of the council.

It was also a good day for the Green Party, which made three gains.

The Tories lost three seats in Cannock to Labour in Hagley, Heath Hayes East and Wimblebury, and Hednesford Green Heath.

Labour also picked up a vacant seat in Cannock East and another from the Liberal Democrats in Brereton and Ravenhill, taking the seat of Gerald Molineux, a councillor of more than 20 years.

Labour councillor Tony Johnson, the leader of the opposition who was re-elected into his seat in Cannock East today, said: "I'm absolutely delighted we've hit our target.

"The team have worked exceptionally hard, when you think where we've come from in the last 12 months with the gains that we've made in by-elections and people coming across to join us.

"We can only be delighted in what we have achieved."

Councillor Tony Johnson, leader of the opposition, was pleased with Labour gaining five seats.

Councillor Johnson said the Conservative losses were influenced by voters feelings towards the Government.

"There have been issues locally whereby a number of people have been unhappy with the Conservative administration, but I have to be honest and say that it is the national which tends to dictate at local elections," he said.

Uncertainty now hangs over control of the council, with Labour expected to enter into negotiations with the Green Party, who were ecstatic with their three gains at today's count.

Councillor Johnson said: "I can imagine that there will be a lot of horse trading and negotiations between the party leaders in the very near future."

Leader of the Green Party in Cannock, Councillor Andrea Muckley, who was re-elected as a councillor for Rawnsley, was overwhelmed with the results.

Councillor Andrea Muckley, leader of the Green Party in Cannock, is thrilled with the party gaining three seats. The Green Party now have five seats on Cannock Chase District Council.

She told the Express & Star: "I'm absolutely ecstatic, I can't believe it. I've managed to retain my seat which is wonderful and we've got three new councillors so we'll be a group of five.

"It just goes to show that the people want councillors who care about their local area.

"The people of Cannock really appreciate people who work hard and they put people in the Chamber regardless of what Party they're from, based on their hard work and their ability to do what's best for their community."

Overall, Cannock had a voter turnout of 23.84 per cent, with the highest turnout in Cannock West (31 per cent) and the lowest in Hednesford Green Heath (20 per cent).

However, councillors from all parties emphasised the importance of democratic local elections.

Councillor Muckley said: "Local elections are extremely important because what happens locally actually impacts on people's lives a lot more than national politics.

"I think what's really important is that local politics shouldn't be about politics, it should be about the people that we represent.

"It should be about local issues and what's best for our communities. In my mind, the people of Rawnsley and of Hednesford have made it very clear that they feel that their areas, our areas, are in safe hands with the Greens and I think that's a wonderful, wonderful thing."

Councillor Johnson added: "I sometimes think people don't realise how important local elections are, because we provide the day to day services that affect people's lives, and having good quality services and a good local council is vital for community cohesion."

Leader of the council, Councillor Olivia Lyon for the Western Springs ward, has been approached for comment.