Tories re-take Mid Suffolk

THE Conservatives who seized control of Mid Suffolk District Council have vowed to try to keep council tax increases down in the coming years, without cutting services.

By John Howard

THE Conservatives who seized control of Mid Suffolk District Council have vowed to try to keep council tax increases down in the coming years, without cutting services.

Liberal Democrats and Labour councillors lost control of the authority in Thursday's elections as Conservatives now have 21 seats, the Liberal Democrats 11, Independents five, Labour two and the Green Party one.

Conservative leader Roger Saunders has overall control over the authority, but also has four Independents who are sympathetic to the Conservatives who might also support his administration.


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Mr Saunders said: "We scored heavily against Labour candidates and held most of our seats, although I am very sad to lose John Gilmour.

"We will try to deliver better value and we do not want to cut services, and we think there are areas where we can be more cost-effective.

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"We will try to keep council tax increases down, as long as there are not outside pressures from Government."

Labour had an bad election night. For eight years they have ruled with the Liberal Democrats, now they have just two councillors – and one of those was elected because the seat was uncontested. Among their high-profile loses was Marilyn Finbow, a former Stowmarket mayor.

High-profile loses for the Liberal Democrats included current Stowmarket mayor and district councillor Keith Scarff, who lost by just 13 votes in Stowmarket South to a Conservative.

Penny Otton, the former council leader who held onto her seat in Rattlesden, said: "We have lost some excellent councillors who worked extremely hard."

She accused the Conservatives of misleading electors over council tax rises and said her party would continue to campaign while in opposition on issues it felt passionately about.

Tim Lodge, Labour agent for mid-Suffolk, said: "I am extremely disappointed. Not glossing over it, the electors demonstrated their feelings."

However, it was not all good news for the Conservatives, with Mr Gilmour losing his seat to the Green Party, which took its first seat in Suffolk at Mendlesham.

Victorious Green councillor Andrew Stringer said: "I will be keeping to my promises to the electorate, starting on Monday with a spell in the stocks at the Mendlesham Street Fair, to raise funds for local charities.  

"More seriously, I will be keeping local people informed of all that affects them on the council and the Green Party will be planting 472 trees to thank each of the voters who supported us."

The new state of power on the council is Conservatives 21 seats (+8), Liberal Democrats 11 seats (-3), Independents 5 seats (+1), Labour 2 seats (-4) and Green Party 1 seat (+1).

john.howard@eadt.co.uk

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