Labour gained 20 seats across the city last night to become the controlling party of Birmingham City Council, including winning three out of four seats in Northfield constituency from tory councillors despite a low turnout at the polls. In total, Labour were top of the poll for 29 of the 40 seats up for election last night, taking the majority of council seats and leadership from the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition.
The first result of the night saw Labour take the Longbridge seat from an existing Conservative councillor for the third year running. Candidate Jess Phillips won over Conservative Ken Wood with a majority of 533 votes.
In Kings Norton, former teacher Valerie Seabright won the previously tory seat for Labour by 283 votes.
And in Northfield, council cabinet member for Children, Young People and Families Les Lawrence (Con) was ousted by Labour’s Brett O’Reilly by just 61 votes.
The Conservatives held closely fought Weoley, with Eddie Freeman taking a majority of just two votes over Labour’s candidate Steve Booton.
Turnout across the south of the city was reported to have been lower than expected and the four Northfield constituency wards were no exception. Kings Norton, Northfield and Weoley saw a drop of around 8-9% in voters, all with a turnout of around 27% of the electorate. Longbridge saw a smaller drop of 4.5% but still had the lowest turnout with just 26.34% hitting the polls. Turnout across the city was around 29%
Two horse race
Each constituency saw a huge majority of the votes split between Conservative and Labour parties. Liberal Democrats saw another decrease in the number of votes, coming in last behind UKIP, Green Party and the BNP in Longbridge with just 163 votes. Lib Dems managed 4th in Kings Norton, Northfield and Weoley but polled just 584 votes across the three wards.
Across the constituency the smaller parties took a small number of votes: Lib Dems 747, BNP 732 and Greens 717. UKIP nominated candidates in three wards and polled 955 across the three. The newly formed Communities Against the Cuts party polled 129 votes in Kings Norton for their candidate Chris Hughes.
At the end of the night Labour had gained a total of 20 seats across Birmingham, 11 from Conservative and 9 from Lib Dems. The Labour Party needed to gain just 4 to take the majority and win control of the council. Gains were made in traditionally Conservative seats, such as Sutton Vesey ward which has not had a Labour councillor since it was created in 1945.
Labour now have 77 councillors on the council, compared to 28 Conservative and 15 Lib Dem.
Results for the referendum on whether Birmingham should have an elected mayor will be in later today. Early indications suggest a ‘No’ vote will be returned. The count begins at 2pm and we will bring you the results as soon as they are live.
As ever, we’d love to hear your views!
Are you pleased with the results? Who did you vote for?
Are you happy to have a Labour controlled council?
Do you think this will be a positive or negative change for Kings Norton, Longbridge, Northfield & Weoley and the city as a whole?
Leave your comments below!