The residents of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole went to the polls on 2 May to vote for their local representatives on the newly created BCP local authority. Results largely mirrored what’s been happening across the country in the local elections.
Disastisfaction with the faltering Brexit negotiations at Westminster spilled into local politics with many conservatives, some long-serving, losing their seats to Liberal Democrats, Labour, Green and Independent candidates.
BH Living were at the count on Friday and it became apparent quite early on that there would be some surprise results. Conservative candidates looked pensive and worried, whereas their Liberal Democrat and Independent counterparts looked expectant.
Outside the counting hall where many candidates were on their phones, I overheard conversations from worried sitting councillors saying it looked like they would be losing their seats. One Poole Conservative privately told me, he feared the worst and that we’d see lots of councillors losing seats. His prediction turned out to be correct as the first results began to come in.
There were plenty of cheers and a few tears as the results were announced over the course of the afternoon.
In Poole, many voters decided to vote for the relatively new ‘Poole People’ party suggesting many residents are concerned that Poole may lose it’s identity in the newly formed BCP administration. In Christchurch, a once Conservative stronghold, voters overwhelmingly voted Independent. Bournemouth reported a mixed set of results with the Conservatives still retaining many of their seats.
The Liberal Democrats had their best showing in decades taking 15 seats across the BCP region. Labour increased their share to three seats and the Green party doubled their seats to two – taking an additional seat in Winton East.
Turnout at the election was better than many candidates expected. 33.13% of voters turned up casting a total of 97,768 verified votes.
The count for this election was conducted at the Bournemouth International Centre under close scrutiny. The larger authority meant more space was needed to conduct the count and counting didn’t start until 10am the next morning meaning the BCP region was one of the last in the UK to announce results.
It became apparent at around 5.30pm that the Conservatives had not gained overall control winning 36 of the 76 seats available (3 short of a majority). The result saw clusters of newly elected independent and Liberal Democrat councillors discussing alliances.
The previously dominant Conservative Group are meeting today (8 May) to discuss their options and see if they can form a minority administration but this would likely involve a different face at the helm and possibly an Independent Leader of the Council.
The breakdown of the council now looks like this:
|Alliance for Local Living||1|
We’ll be monitoring events closely and will publish more news as it becomes available.
Full election results can be found here