10 May 2019
North Somerset politics has entered a new phase. A number of interpretations are possible, but it would seem that the electorate country-wide are thoroughly disenchanted with the traditional Tory/Labour see-saw and are looking to Independents and the smaller political parties to deliver real change.
This is just as evident in North Somerset as in scores of wards throughout the country. For a decade or so, North Somerset Council has been dominated by the Conservatives holding 36 of the 50 council seats, the remainder comprising 5 Independents, 4 LibDems, 4 Labour and 1 Green. The Green seat (Congresbury & Puxton) had persisted for 33 years, the last 16 occupied by Cllr. Tom Leimdorfer. But Tom decided to take a well-earned retirement and despite efforts to find a successor, none was found. This left us with the prospect of losing all representation on the Council.
But the wave of disenchantment against the two main parties, reinforced by strong local campaigns by the Liberal Democrats, our candidates and other non-aligned parties, has produced a spectacular result. The Conservatives have lost overall control, going from 36 seats to just 13. Twenty-two councillors retained their seats, only 11 of which are Conservative. With a further 4 councillors having held a seat in the past, that means that there will be an influx of 24 entirely new councillors, which must surely usher in a new era.
The biggest incursion into the Conservative hegemony came from Independents, 13 under that label and 4 from the newly-established Portishead Independents. The LibDems took 11 seats and Labour 6. For we Greens however, the result to note is the election of three Green councillors: Bridget Petty in Backwell, Karin Haverson in Banwell & Winscombe, and Stuart McQuillan in Long Ashton [profiles].
It’s a phenomenal achievement by a small local party, and is entirely due to the commitment of the candidates and the dedication of our local members and supporters, not only in their willingness to vote Green, but to help-out in leafletting and canvassing.
Tom Leimdorfer says he is absolutely delighted that he is handing on the torch to the Green Group of three competent and energetic new councillors who will have the opportunity to make a real difference on the new Council.
Bridget, Karin and Stuart are keen to establish an ongoing dialogue with the community in order to maintain an awareness of issues arising. Whether a member, supporter or neither, you have an ideal opportunity to meet your new Green councillors by coming along to our Public Meeting on 4 June 2019 which is focusing on electric cars. Details are here.
The diagrams below show the ‘before and after’ composition of North Somerset Council:
There is also a nice map of the geographic distribution of the parties on the N. Somerset Council site.
9th May 2019