I'd like to thank all those residents of Bransty ward who took the trouble to vote yesterday, and particularly those who voted for me and for my Conservative colleagues Allan Mossop and Alex Carroll.
The Bransty result was:
Chris Whiteside (Conservative) 651 (elected)
Allan Mossop (Conservative) 636 (elected)
Alex Carroll (Conservative) 617 (elected)
Jim Hewitson (Labour) 508
Les Hanley (Labour) 453
Jeanette Williams (Labour) 435
Smallest Conservative majority: 109
Two of the three seats in the ward were previously Labour held so this represents a gain of two seats.
Overall on Copeland council Conservatives made three gains and no losses, taking two seats from Labour and one from an Independent who had been elected in 2003 as a Lib/Dem.
Labour lost two seats to the Conservatives and gained one seat which had been held by an independent who did not seek re-election, a net loss of one seat.
The composition of the council, and change comparing each seat with the result when it was last elected, is
Labour: 31 (down one)
Conservatives: 19 (up three)
Independent: 1 (down one)
Lib/Dems: Nil (down one)
You would think something as apparently simple as who has made gains and losses would be straightforward and uncontroversial. Unfortunately not: Labour and the press are suggesting, wrongly in my view, that Labour have held steady rather than going backwards. So let me explain the basis for my statement that they have had a net loss of one seat.
Half a dozen councillors had resigned from the council since the 2003 election. Two had resigned from the parties under whose banner they were originally elected. For comparison purposes I put the three seats where by-elections were held in spring 2006 in the column for the parties who won the by-elections. I put the seats which were vacant as of yesterday into the column for the parties which won them in 2003. I considered Haverigg to be a Lib/Dem seat on the basis that they won it in 2003 although the incumbent councillor had resigned from the party and stood yesterday as an independent.
The argument that Labour are level pegging is based on the fact that they won the same number of seats yesterday as in 2003. However, Labour were quite happy to register a gain when they won a formerly independent seat in the the Cleator Moor by election in 2006. At that stage their tally of seats won when last contested went up from 31 seats to 32.
If you credit them the Cleator Moor gain in 2006 they cannot claim it again to offset their losses in Bransty in 2007. They can however claim the other normally safe Labour seat which has come back to them when an independent stepped down yesterday, which is Frizington.
Hence Labour's net position is lost two in Bransty to the Conservatives, gained one in Frizington from Independent, a net loss of one seat.
I am pleased with the advance made by the Conservatives in this year's Copeland elections for three reasons. First, we gained three seats: second, the Conservatives were the only party in Copeland who contested every ward in Copeland. Third, in almost every ward where we had taken part in a contested election in 2003 the Conservative share of the vote was significantly higher this year.
Copeland was one of many councils in the North of Enlgand where the Conservatives made good progress. We now control 20 councils in the North, and more councils in both the North West and Yorkshire than Labour.
Councils we’ve gained:
* East Riding of Yorkshire for the first time ever, making 18 gains and taking the Lib Dem and Labour leaders’ seats.
* South Ribble for the first time since 1995, gaining 24 seats.
* Chester for the first time since 1986, gaining 7 seats.
* Blackpool, gaining 13 seats – 12 from Labour, 1 from the Lib Dems. We last controlled Blackpool in 1987.
Conservatives have now made net gains of over 130 seats in the North. If people were to vote in Bury and Bolton in a General Election as they did yesterday, we would win the three Parliamentary seats needed to win a General Election (Bolton NE, Bury North and Bolton West). We would also have won Barrow.
Nationally, the Conservatives are estimated to have gained the equivalent of over 40 per cent of the vote. We have now gained over 800 seats and now control 23 more councils. Conservatives now control 205 councils – more than three times Labour (46) and the Libs Dems (27) combined.
Labour have been removed entirely from 89 council chambers at the last count- that is the number of councils where they have no councillors at all. And the Lib Dems are heading for their worst loss of councillors for a decade.
Apart from those mentioned above, councils in the North of England where we have made net gains include:
Allerdale (+1), Alnwick (+7), Barrow-in-Furness (+2), Blackburn with Darwen (+2), Bolton (+1), Burnley (+1), Bury (+1), Castle Morpeth (+2), Chester-le-Street (+1), Chorley (+1), Copeland (+3), Crewe and Nantwich (+3), Darlington (+5), Eden (+4), Ellesmere Port and Neston (+3), Fylde (+1), Hambleton (+2), Lancaster (+1), Macclesfield (+2), Oldham (+2), Pendle (+1), Preston (+2), Rotherham (+1), Richmondshire (+6) Salford (+2), Stockton on Tees (+1), Sunderland (+3), Teesdale (+1), Vale Royal (+3), West Lancashire (+1) Wigan (+1), Wyre (+11) and York (+8).
Results in the Copeland wards other than Bransty were:
Arlecdon: Independent hold (One seat)
Graham Sunderland, Independent 241; (re-elected)
Marie Simpson, Conservative 106
Cam Ross, Labour 99;
Beckermet: Conservative hold (Two seats)
Yvonne Clarkson, Conservative 604; (re-elected)
John Jackson, Conservative 579; (re-elected)
John Woolley, Labour 255;
Cleator Moor North: (three seats)
Bill Southward, Labour 525; (re-elected)
Joan Hully, Labour 540; (re-elected)
Hugh Branney, Labour 499; (re-elected)
Doreen Platt, Conservative 217
(Cleator Moor North is a Labour hold or one net gain from Independent depending on whether you compare with 2003 or with the position after the 2006 by-election.)
Cleator Moor South: Labour Hold (two seats)
David Banks, Labour 365; (re-elected)
Cath Geil, Labour 386; (re-elected)
Joyce Morris, Conservative 148;
Distington: (Three seats)
Brian Dixon, Labour 495; (re-elected)
John Bowman, Labour 465; (elected)
Willis Metherell, Labour 523; (re-elected)
Frank Hollowell, Liberal 357;
Victoria Vincent, Conservative 229
This should probably be seen as a Labour hold: one seat was vacant where a Labour councillor elected in 2003 resigned first from the party (after suggesting that Tony Blair should be invited to come to Copeland to take part in the "biggest liar" competition) and then from the council.
Egremont North: Labour hold (three seats)
Elaine Woodburn, Labour 740; (re-elected)
Margaret Woodburn, Labour 724; (re-elected)
Sam Mateer, Labour 724; (re-elected)
Mary Holmes, Conservative 241;
Kenneth Kirkby, Conservative 273;
John Brown, Conservative 186
Egremont South: Labour hold (three seats)
Michael McVeigh, Labour 667; (re-elected)
Peter Watson, Labour 618 (re-elected)
Connie Watson, Labour 580; (re-elected)
John Holmes, Conservative 488;
John Coyles, Conservative 488;
Jean Lewthwaite, Conservative 465;
Ennerdale: Conservative hold ( one seat)
Bob Salkeld, Conservative 204; (re-elected)
Mike Minogue, Liberal 86;
Mary Ross, Labour 60;
Frizington: Labour net gain of one seat from Independent (Two seats in total)
Peter Connolly, Labour 377; (re-elected)
Tim Knowles, Labour 343; (elected)
Ken Simpson, Conservative 238;
Gosforth: Conservative hold (one seat)
Alan Jacob, Conservative 328; (re-elected)
Christina Cornall, Labour 134;
Harbour: Labour hold (three seats)
John Kane, Labour 656; (elected)
Anne Bradshaw, Labour 574; (re-elected)
Henry Wormstrup, Labour 556; (re-elected)
Brigid Whiteside, Conservative 412;
Andrew Welsh, Conservative 403;
Graham Roberts, Conservative 385;
Haverigg: Conservative Gain (one seat)
Douglas Wilson, Conservative 228; (elected)
Margaret Barnes, Independent 180;
Carl Carter, Labour 147;
Hensingham: Labour hold (three seats)
Geoffrey Garrity, Labour 562; (re-elected)
Margarita Docherty, Labour 454; (re-elected)
Norman Williams, Labour 501; (re-elected)
Martyn Barnes, Conservative 338;
Marcus Swift, Conservative 298;
Hillcrest: Conservative hold (two seats)
Alistair Norwood, Conservative 468; (re-elected)
Andrew Wonnacott, Conservative 422; (re-elected)
Calvin Jones, Labour 265;
Holborn Hill, Millom: Conservative and Labour each hold one seat (two seat total)
Frederick Gleaves, Conservative 396; (re-elected)
John Park, Labour 305; (re-elected)
Roland Woodward, Labour 281;
Rowena Pitt, Conservative 273;
Jane Micklethwaite, Liberal 130;
Neil Wilson, Independent 130;
Kells: Labour hold (two seats)
George Clements, Labour 273; (re-elected)
Alan Holliday, Labour 241; (re-elected)
Dorothy Gray, Conservative 121;
Mirehouse: Labour hold (three seats)
Anne Faichney, Labour 648; (re-elected)
Eddie Brennan, Labour 516; (re-elected)
Paul Whalley, Labour 462; (elected)
Dorothy Wonnacott, Conservative 150;
George Higgins, Conservative 141;
Leah Higgins, Conservative 135;
Moresby: Labour hold (one seat)
Geoff Blackwell, Labour 200; (re-elected)
Gareth Maley, Conservative 168;
Newtown, Millom: Conservative hold (three seats)
Francis Heathcote, Conservative 722; (re-elected)
Raymond Cole, Conservative 718; (re-elected)
Robin Pitt, Conservative 475; (elected)
Anthony Gilmore, Labour 341;
Sandwith: Labour hold (two seats)
Jim Prince, Labour 202; (re-elected)
Peter Tyson, Labour 243; (re-elected)
David Gray, Conservative 147;
Seascale: Conservative hold (two seats)
Eileen Eastwood, Conservative 738; (re-elected)
David Moore, Conservative 798; (re-elected)
Les Tulley, Labour 233;
St Bees: Conservative hold (one seat)
Norman Clarkson, Conservative 390; (re-elected)
Esther Clements, Labour 141
In addition to the above Copeland Borough council elections, the people elected as parish councillors included.
Lowca: John Crawford, Brian Ennis, David Gale, Frank Hollowell, Thomas Milligan, Keith Moore, Catherine Oliver, Kirstine Skinner, Elizabeth Walker
Millom Haverigg: Janice Brown, Joan Hobbs, Douglas Wilson
Millom Holborn Hill: Irene Ashburner, Frederick Gleaves, Kenneth Hoskin, Neil Houston, John Park
Waberthwaite: Pamela Beckwith, Alan Clegg, Alistair Hadwin, Norman Southward, Michael Steele, James Thornton, John Varden, Eric Wilson