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Elections success for the Greens and UKIP

It's celebration time for the Greens in Solihull after the party moved into official opposition by winning three seats from Labour.

Debbie Evans won the first borough seat for UKIP in Kingshurst and Fordbridge ward
Debbie Evans won the first borough seat for UKIP in Kingshurst and Fordbridge ward

It's celebration time for the Greens in Solihull after the party moved into official opposition by winning three seats from Labour.

Last week’s local elections result gave the party a total of ten councillors in Solihull.

And UKIP also had cause to celebrate as Debbie Evans won its first borough seat in Kingshurst and Fordbridge Ward.

The Greens took Chelmsley Wood, Shirley West and Smiths Wood wards.

And Andy Hodgson, who defected from the Liberal Democrats, successfully defended Shirley South Ward.

New Shirley West councillor Tim Hodgson, also a former Lib Dem, hailed the outcome as a “resounding result for the Greens”.

“And it’s a kick in the teeth for the Conservatives,” he said.

“A week after Parkgate opened – it’s a reflection of people’s opinions.

“People can understand why we defected and it’s gone down well.

“A lot of Lib Dem voters felt let down. I think our move reflects the wider opinion.”

Coun Evans said she felt “on top of the world” after ousting longstanding Solihull Labour group leader David Jamieson.

“I think it’s because we are the common sense party,” she said.

“We talk the language of normal people.

“People have had enough of the mainstream parties which say one thing and do another.

“I don’t want to be an ‘EU citizen’, I want to be a British citizen.”

The Liberal Democrats now have eight councillors after losing their local group leader Ian Hedley to give the Conservatives a new seat.

The Tories remain as controlling party with 29.

Labour now have just two remaining members on Solihull Council.

Retiring leader of the Conservative Group, Coun Ken Meeson, was “absolutely delighted” his party had gained another seat.

“The fact that Labour are down to two members will be a shock for them,” he added.

“We see it as a real reflection of the hard work we have done running Solihull.”

Solihull Council breakdown

(compared to the last election results)

Conservatives 29 (+1)

Greens 10 (+3)

Liberal Democrats 8 (-1)

Labour 2 (-4)

UKIP 1 (+1)

Independent Ratepayers 1 (0)

Labour lose four of their seats – including their party leader

The Labour Party was dealt a devastating blow at this year’s borough elections, losing four of its seats including its own party leader.

The party, which now only has two members left, lost seats in Smith’s Wood, Chelmsley Wood, Shirley West and Kingshurst and Fordbridge wards.

Coun Nick Stephens lost out to the Green’s James Burn by 823 votes in Chelmsley Wood while in Kingshurt and Fordbridge, party leader Coun David Jamieson lost out to Debbie Evans, the first UKIP councillor to be elected in the borough.

The two new candidates put forward by Labour for the Smith’s Wood and Shirley West wards also failed to collect enough votes, losing out to the Greens in both wards.

Coun Jamieson, who first joined the council in 1970 to 1974, before joining again in 2010, said: “I am disappointed for myself and my colleague Nick Stephens, I always said this would be the last time I will be standing.

“I think what has happened is that people have been influenced by the hype around the European elections and they have not distinguished between local and Euro elections.

“What is really positive is that a lot of people have told us they will be voting UKIP in the local elections but Labour when it comes to the General Election. They say they want to give UKIP a chance.

“I do have concerns that UKIP do not have any local policies, their main focus is around immigration. There has also been a period of austerity and I think the main three parties have been blamed for that – but they are blaming the wrong people.”

The borough’s Liberal Democrat leader Coun Ian Hedley also lost his seat in the Shirley East ward, which was taken by the Conservatives, helping the Tories gain an extra seat on the council.

“We have lost votes because we are no longer a protest party, we are part of a coalition and a party of the government,” Coun Hedley said.

Coun Hedley also said he believed people had been ‘conned’ by the publicity surrounding UKIP.

Newly elected Annette Mackenzie said she believed she had won the seat based on the hard work of the existing councillors.

“I intend to listen to residents and make sure their voices are heard,” she said.

 

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