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Low turnouts mark local elections

By Peter Madeley | Local Elections 2019 | Published:

The turnout figures have been revealed for this month's local elections – with less than one in five people bothering to vote in some council wards.

Walsall Council leader Mike Bird expressed concerns about the low turnout figure in the local elections

Across Walsall around 55,700 people turned out to vote from an electorate of 198,734 – around 28 per cent – a figure Conservative council leader Mike Bird described as "appalling".

However the figure was higher than Wolverhampton, which saw a turnout of 27 per cent, and Sandwell – which featured the ward with the Black Country's worst turnout figure – where it was just 24.6 per cent.

Dudley Council's elections had the best turnout in the Black Country with 28.9 per cent.

A breakdown of the turnout figures in all 20 ward seats in Walsall saw Paddock post the highest figure of 40.23 per cent, while in Palfrey it was 36.2 per cent and St Matthews saw 36 per cent of the electorate turnout.

However, at the bottom of the pile Willenhall South, which was held by Labour's Carl Creaney, saw a turnout figure of just 21.48 per cent.

In Darlaston South, where Doug James held the seat for Labour, the figure was 22.15 per cent, and in the Conservative gain of Bloxwich East, 21.48 per cent of the electorate voted in the poll.

The elections saw the Tories secure a majority administration, with 32 seats to Labour's 26, while the Lib Dems hold two seats.

Council leader Mike Bird said the poor turnout across the borough was likely to be down to MPs failure to deliver Brexit.

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"The turnout was appalling," he said. "I understand the people may be apathetic to voting, they may be all voted-out.

"The MPs in Westminster have not delivered the vote the people wanted, we should be out of Europe."

The poorest turnout figure in the four Black Country boroughs came in Labour-dominated Sandwell, where one in six people (16.78 per cent) voted in Princes End.

Newly elected Labour councillor Stephen Jones, the son of councillors' Ian and Olwen Jones, won with 599 of the 1,531 votes cast in the poll.

In Great Bridge the turnout was 18.03 per cent and in Friar Park 18.77 per cent of the electorate went to the polls.

Wolverhampton Council declared turnout figures of 17.35 per cent in Bushbury South and Low Hill, which was won by Labour's Paula Brookfield, and 19.51 per cent in East Park, where Harman Banger retained his seat for the same party.

Peter Madeley

By Peter Madeley
@P_Madeley_Star

Political Editor for the Express & Star. Responsible for local and national political stories, opinion, comment and analysis.

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