Local elections: Conservatives face opposition from 27 candidates to retain all 13 Stortford seats on East Herts Council
Votes will be counted through the night after local election polling stations in Bishop’s Stortford close at 10pm on Thursday (May 2).
At stake are 48 of the 50 seats on East Herts Council; the elections in Much Hadham and Walkern are uncontested, returning Conservative pair Ian Devonshire and Ken Crofton unopposed.
There are 40 candidates vying to become the 13 members who represent Stortford at district council level.
In the previous elections in 2015, the town was true Tory blue as the Conservatives pulled off a clean sweep, winning ALL 13 Stortford seats en route to securing ALL 50 on EHC – despite polling less than half the vote.
This time, Labour, the Liberal Democrats, the Green Party and UKIP are hoping to add new party colours to the town’s political spectrum.
UKIP has singled out Stortford for its district council assault and is pitting three candidates against sitting Tories in All Saints, Central and Meads wards. There are also three Green candidates in the town.
All of the opposition parties have a mountain to climb
In 2015, in All Saints ward, the Conservatives took all three seats with 37.5% of the votes. The Lib Dems, who lost a seat, had 25.5%, Labour 14.4%, UKIP 12.1% and the Greens 10.5%.
Bishop’s Stortford Central also returned three Tories, with 32.4% of the vote. Again, the Lib Dems were second with 22.5%, Labour and UKIP tied with 16.5% and the Greens polled 12.1%
The Meads ward returned two Tories with 36.4% of the votes, with the Lib Dems and Labour neck and neck on 17.4% and 17% respectively and UKIP and the Greens with 15% and 14.3%.
Silverleys followed the same pattern with Tories winning both seats with 51.4%. Labour pipped UKIP to second with 16.8% against 16% and the Greens on 15.8%.
The three South ward seats were also a Conservative bluewash with 56% of the vote. Labour was second with 23.6% and UKIP third with 13.2%.
Overall in East Herts, the Conservatives polled 41,177 votes (49.8%) to take all 50 seats. Labour’s 13,636 votes equated to 16.5%, the Green Party polled 10,825 (13.1%), UKIP 8,971 (10.9%), Liberal Democrats 5,579 (6.8%), Independents 2,415 (2.9%) and Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition 48 (0.1%).
The district council's current political make-up is 42 Conservatives, four Independents – all of whom were elected as Tories in 2015 – and one Liberal Democrat, who won a by-election in Watton-at-Stone in 2018. There are three vacancies, including a Stortford All Saints seat.
There is also a town council election in Stortford with all 17 seats – currently monopolised by the Conservatives – at stake. The votes for these will be counted from 11am on Friday (May 3) as Labour, Lib Dems and the Greens seek a breakthrough.
We're guaranteed at least 10 new Stortford councillors
There will be at least seven new faces on the town council and three new Stortford members on EHC as district council deputy leader Gary Jones, former mayors Ralph Gilbert and Daniel Abbott, and long-serving Philip Demonti are not seeking re-election.