Onlookers unfamiliar with electoral success, might have remained puzzled as they watched jubilant Conservatives toasting the outcome of this year’s Peterborough City Council elections.
But against a national backdrop of unremitted disaster, Peterborough offered at least some comfort for party leaders on a night when, across the country there was little to cheer.
As Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said today, it is always “disappointing” to lose “hard-working Conservative councillors”.
Only a third of the seats on the city council were contested yesterday and Conservative council leader Wayne Fitzgerald knew that it would be a tough assignment to retain, let only improve upon the 28 out of 60 seats his party had held prior to polling booths opening.
But improve it they did, with the last result in – Park ward – and both seats at stake going to the Conservatives.
Tories now hold 30 of the 60 seats on the council and with the support of independents can expect to retain control, even though technically Peterborough remains a local authority with no overall control
Cllr Fitzgerald retained his own seat on the city council and Conservative councillor Raja Ahmed won Ravensthorpe – a Conservative gain from Labour.
The results mean the city council now has 30 Conservative councillors, 14 Labour, eight Lib Dem, five independents and three Greens.
The turnout in Peterborough was 30.46%.
Labour took Fletton and Woodston with Nick Thulbourn gaining a 12-vote majority over his Conservative opponent.
Cllr Fitzgerald described the outcome in Peterborough as “a really positive message for the Conservatives”.
He acknowledged Labour’s share of the vote had gone up but felt the Conservatives “are still very in charge right now”
He promised collaborative working with other parties, particularly as he felt the city council was not yet back on an even financial keel.
Dennis Jones, the Labour leader on the council, told the BBC: “The reality is the big majorities have stayed the big majorities.”
“I think what people have done here in Peterborough is stay with the person, so I don’t think it’s down to Labour, Liberal Democrat or anybody else,” he added.
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