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Conservatives dealt blow in Staffordshire as Labour make gains

Staffordshire | | Published:

[gallery] The Conservatives have suffered a blow in Staffordshire as Labour made gains in the county council elections.

But Ukip failed to take any seats in South Staffordshire, Cannock Chase or Tamworth overnight, although more results were being counted today.

However, the Eurosceptic party took a large share of the vote in Cannock Chase, coming second in areas like Chadsmoor and Etchinhill and Heath and pushing the Lib Dems into fourth in some areas.

Ukip also did better than Labour in South Staffordshire.

The Tories, who have been in control of the county council with 50 of the 62 seats since 2009, lost four seats in Cannock Chase to Labour, which also took another off the Liberal Democrats.

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Tory county council culture boss Pat Corfield lost his seat in Cannock Town Centre, traditionally a Tory stronghold.

Labour now has six county council seats in the district and the Tories have just one.

Cannock Chase Council leader George Adamson took one of the two seats in Hednesford and Rawnsley and immediately vowed to continue at the helm of the district council, despite his new responsibilities.

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At the county at Cannock Chase Civic Centre he said: "I'm elated to win. I will continue to be leader of the district council.

"It's my first time on the county council.

"Hopefully Labour will get the majority on the county council when the counts are all finished.

"We'll try to reverse some of the dreadful Tory policies."

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Labour councillor Derek Davis, aged 73, is leader of the Labour group on the county council and until last night had just two colleagues.

He retained his seat in Chadsmoor with a majority of 954.

He said the county council's Labour party was considering forming a shadow cabinet off the back of the favourable results.

He said: "I'm relieved. I've always enjoyed a good majority. We'll be looking to form a shadow cabinet on the county council now."

Meanwhile South Staffordshire saw the Conservative party hold on to all six seats accounted for overnight.

Votes for the district's final division – Cheslyn Hay, Essington & Great Wyrley – were being counted tonight, with two seats up for grabs.

Conservative candidates won out in Brewood, Codsall, Kinver, Penkridge, Perton and Wombourne.

And Ukip performed better than Labour in all wards in which both parties put forward candidates.

In Codsall, Councillor Robert Marshall won a landslide victory over Ukip's Michael Lynch and Labour's Kevin McElduff.

Councillor Marshall, who is Staffordshire County Council's cabinet member for public health and community safety, delivered a victory speech to candidates and staff at Codsall Leisure Centre, vowing to remain committed during his term.

But speaking afterwards, he added that he was only "reasonably happy" with the results for the district as a whole.

He said: "Sadly, this election has been about national issues and I think the media have a lot to answer for.

"When I've been knocking on doors all people are talking about are things like immigration and Europe.

"With the best will in the world local councils have no influence on those issues."

In Kinver, district council leader Brian Edwards held on to his county council seat, besting Ukip candidate Paul Brothwood and Labour's Christine Ridgeway.

Tory Mr Edwards said: "We've done very well against a lot of national opposition. I'm very pleased.

"The Ukip campaign that has been put out has made it a national election rather than a local one.

"I haven't heard anyone on the doorstep asking about Council Tax, for example."

South Staffordshire MP Gavin Williamson said: "I'm delighted that all our local seats have so far been retained and the simple reality is people don't want to go back to the era of majorly high Council Tax."

Labour also won three seats off the Tories in Tamworth and held on to another.

Meanwhile in Wolverhampton, only a by-election was held yesterday to fill the Blakenhall seat vacated by West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Bob Jones, who had represented Labour for 33 years.

The seat went to Labour's Harbans Singh Bagri with 1,934 votes. Ukip came second with 263 and the Tories were pushed into third on 242 votes.

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