Labour's meltdown in rural Suffolk

LABOUR suffered meltdown in two districts as the Conservatives consolidated their grip on rural Suffolk, making sweeping gains in Thursday's district council elections.

By Graham Dines

LABOUR suffered meltdown in two districts as the Conservatives consolidated their grip on rural Suffolk, making sweeping gains in Thursday's district council elections.

Labour had been wiped out in Forest Heath in 2003 and on Thursday, no Labour councillors were elected in Babergh and Mid Suffolk.

The party's abysmal performance in the county was summed up in Haverhill and Sudbury, once Labour's market town heartlands, where there are now no Labour representatives.


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There are now only three Labour councillors in the whole of west Suffolk - all in St Edmundsbury - while in Suffolk Coastal, the Tories increased their stranglehold, gaining three seats for a total 45 councillors on the 55 seat authority.

The Liberal Democrats had been hopeful of at least becoming the largest party on Mid Suffolk district, but they lost two seats. With Labour also losing a couple to the Tories, the Conservatives were able to take outright control of a district which received a pre-election visit from opposition leader David Cameron.

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However, the Tory tide was stemmed in Mid Suffolk when Lord Blakenham - the son of the one time Tory MP for Sudbury and Woodbridge - and Stephen Wright were elected under the Suffolk Together banner and Sarah Stringer, the wife of Green Party councillor Andrew, won as an Independent opposed to the abolition of middle schools.

In Ipswich, Andrew Cann - son of former Labour MP Jamie - was elected as a Liberal Democrat, gaining his seat from Labour, while the Greens gained Beccles North from the Tories in Waveney.

Meanwhile in Tendring which covers the Essex towns of Harwich, Dovercourt, Frinton and Clacton, a major split in the Tory Party saw a group of suspended Conservative members gaining 10 seats.

Although former council leader Terry Allen, standing as a Tendring First candidate, lost his seat to official Tory Giles Watling, the son of actor Jack, a number of other prominent, once Tories were elected, including Pierre Oxley.

graham.dines@eadt.co.uk

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