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Northern power shift

Posted by
31 May 2017
northern power politicsThe Conservative Party  were denied control over the North East local authority by the closest of margins, and with the 2017 general election fast approaching, I can’t help but wonder what the outcome might be. Many predicted that the vote would be a close run affair but no one could have foreseen the manner in which proceedings would be decided.

The Tories were set for a ground-breaking success on the 67 seats in Northumberland County Council, a result which would have demonstrated the progress the party has made under the leadership of Theresa May in the once unchallenged Labour heartlands.

Despite the Conservatives performing well in what has been a historically Labour-dominated region for the last 30 years, Labour just got over the line after a recount ended in a tie leading to straws being drawn between the two parties representatives. Labour have the Lib Dem candidate Lesley Rickerby to thank after she drew the right straw against the Tories Daniel Carr. The unorthodox nature of the deciding seat has since been shared on social media numerous times.

The news was not all bad for the Tories however, as they may not have gained the majority of seats but, they did confirm themselves as the largest party on the council, a position held by Labour since the 1980’s, winning 12 seats from their rivals. The eventual victor Lesley Rickerby commented “It's unbelievable that, when you consider we have a democratic service, that we end up having to draw straws."I certainly would have preferred it to be a majority, but the way our system works, after a couple of recounts, we had no choice."

In the eventuality that a second recount doesn’t confirm a victor, the returning officer decides whether they flip a coin or draw straws, a method that many are calling outdated.

Across the country, the influence of the Conservatives was felt as they swept to victory with more than 550 seats gained and new control of 11 councils, with shock victories in mayoralty contests including the West Midlands and Tees Valley. In comparison Labour lost 330 seats and lost control of 5 councils.

The results have been collated into a projected general election result with a national vote share of 38 percent for the Tories, 27 percent for Labour and 18 percent for the Lib Dems. UKIP bring up the rear with a projected performance of 5 percent.

Corbyn was forced to address the situation stating “The results were mixed. We lost seats but we are closing the gap on the Conservatives” but admitted what lies before his party is a “challenge on an historic scale”.
Theresa May, although masterminding what few thought was achievable, remained in a reflective mood and insists that she still believes Labour could win the general election. 

It seems like the tides are definitely turning on Labour in their once unchallenged Northern heartland and it remains to be seen what long term impact this will have on our region.

If you would like to discuss the upcoming election in greater detail, please get in touch by emailing
Tagged In: Current Affairs, Finance
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