Lib Dems wiped out in poll

THE Liberal Democrats were wiped out in the Lancaster district with all five city councillors, including council leader Stuart Langhorn, losing their seats.

Labour were the big winners gaining 11 new seats to take their tally to 24 while the Conservatives made a net gain of five seats to finish with 16 councillors.

It was the fourth successive election that the leader of Lancaster City Council had lost their seat.

And Mr Langhorn blamed his party’s national coalition with the Tories for its downfall locally.

Labour gains included both Green seats in the University Ward where two Lancaster University students were elected, 18-year-old Paul Aitchison and 19-year-old Jonathan Dixon.

Coun Aitchison, who is now believed to be the youngest councillor in Lancashire, said: “It is good to have people represented across all of the age groups.

“It’s daunting but I will take to the task in hand to the best of my abilities.”

He will serve in the Labour ranks alongside 79-year-old Abbott Bryning who was first elected in 1967.

Mother and son Margaret and Ian Pattison were elected for Labour in the Heysham North and Harbour wards but Ian’s sister Charlotte was unable to win the party a seat in Heysham South.

There was disappointment for the Greens who lost four seats to finish with eight while the Morecambe Bay Independents (MBI) also ended the night with eight councillors after suffering a net loss of three seats.

Among the MBI casualties was the Mayor of Lancaster, Tony Wade, who lost his Westgate seat.

Evelyn Archer, who was expelled from the MBIs last year following a row, failed to cling to her Poulton seat as an independent, losing out to Labour.

The number of other independent councillors was halved from eight to four, but Paul Woodruff comfortably held his Halton seat, meaning he will succeed Mr Wade as mayor later this month.

Labour group leader Coun Eileen Blamire said: “Four years ago was a bad night but this has been tremendous. I am really delighted that the grass roots Labour Party has come out and voted.”

Mr Langhorn said: “We have to listen to people, we have a great country with a strong liberal tradition and a great party.

“It is not worth losing that party for the Conservatives to destroy our public services.”

The new council will hold a vote to decide who will become leader later this month. That person will then choose a cabinet. Labour does not have an overall majority but if it wins a leadership contest it will need to choose between forming a minority administration or teaming up with another party or parties,

Turnout for the election was 38.75 per cent.

Visit to see the full results.

Pictures and more reaction in next week’s Lancaster Guardian.