Lib Dems storm Uttlesford

THE Liberal Democrats have swept back to power in Uttlesford, wiping out Labour completely in the process.With such pressing issues as the proposed expansion of Stansted Airport and the M11 corridor, and paving over fields with the runways, roads and housing that would result, voters turned overwhelmingly to Britain's third party.

THE Liberal Democrats have swept back to power in Uttlesford, wiping out Labour completely in the process.

With such pressing issues as the proposed expansion of Stansted Airport and the M11 corridor, and paving over fields with the runways, roads and housing that would result, voters turned overwhelmingly to Britain's third party.

Formerly controlled by a Conservative-Independent coalition, the council will now be dominated by the Lib Dems, whose 31 seats form an overall majority of 18 over the Conservatives' 10 and Independents' three. Labour lost both its seats.

New Lib Dem leader of the council, Alan Dean, said yesterday he was delighted to be back in power.


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"I was leader of the minority Lib Dem administration for two years from 1995 to 1997 and in that time we won praise from the Audit Commission. I'm looking forward to it again with some relish," he added.

"The result has completely exceeded our expectations – we were expecting a number of seats in the mid-20s, so 31 is excellent news.

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"The first thing we will do is have a review of the finances and see where we're at. We will then be giving a very clear picture to the council officers."

Conservative leader Robert Chambers, victorious in Wenden Lofts, said although he was disappointed at losing five seats, he was confident his party would bounce back.

He added: "I congratulate the Lib Dems – they ran a very good campaign. However, they have been misleading people over things like council tax and now they are in power, they will no longer be able to sit on the fence.

"I don't think the result is a rejection of our policies – there was an element of tactical voting – but the result is quite clear cut.

"I think some people in my party did not put in the effort on the doorstep and they have got to realise if they don't work hard, they won't get any reward."

Labour leader Russell Green, who lost his Saffron Waldon Shire seat after seven recounts, said: "It's a bit of a disaster for us. There are lot of pacifist Quakers in this area and they showed their displeasure by voting Lib Dems."

New state of power on the council: Liberal Democrats 31 seats (+13), Conservatives 10 seats (-5), Independents 3 seats (-3) and Labour 0 seats (-2).

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