Local Elections
Green Party make history on dramatic night

By Rob George 04/05 Updated: 09/05 12:16

Buy photos » Neil Laurenson made history when he was elected as councillor for the St Stephen ward. (s)

THE GREEN Party has secured its first ever seat on Worcester City Council following a dramatic night which saw the Conservatives lose control of the authority.

Neil Laurenson (Green) made history when he secured the St Stephen’s seat with 720 votes - 278 more than former councillor Keith Burton (Conservative) who had previously held it.

His success capped a tremendous night for the Greens who fielded candidates in all 12 wards up for election and finished ahead of the Liberal Democrats in two wards and just 30 votes behind the Conservatives in Gorse Hill.

The Conservatives lost a seat in Cathedral when Lynn Denham (Labour) beat cabinet member Francis Lankester by just 60 votes, but gained a seat in Claines from the Liberal Democrats when Mike Whitehouse ousted long-serving Sue Askin by 65 votes.

Conservative leader Simon Geraghty held on to his seat in St Clement while Labour leader Adrian Gregson did so in Rainbow Hill.

Labour’s Parliamentary candidate Joy Squires retained her Arboretum seat while Robert Rowden and Derek Prodger retained Battenhall and Bedwardine respectively for the Conservatives.

Deputy mayor Roger Berry (Labour) held on to Gorse Hill and Alan Amos retained Warndon for the Labour party.

Labour also secured both the seats vacated by Mike and Margaret Layland in Nunnery and St John’s as Richard Boorn and

Christine Cawthone were elected to join the city council.

The outcome leaves the Conservatives with 17 seats on the city council, Labour with 15, Liberal Democrats two and the Green Party one, meaning no one party controls the council.

Conservative leader Coun Simon Geraghty said: "It's been a difficult evening and a big disappointment to lose St Stephen and Cathedral which are shock results for us but congratulations to Neil Laurenson and Lynn Denham on their victories.

"Francis Lankester is a long-standing colleague of mine and we worked together in the cabinet so its a huge disappointment to lose him, but we did pick up Claines after a tough fight.

"We are also the largest party still on the council so my position as group leader is to seek to implement as many Conservative policies as we can," he added.

Labour leader Coun Adrian Gregson said: "We are very pleased with the overalll result we have gained three seats, we have held the other seats and I think we have done so with increased majorities.

"We got a brand new coalition Government in 2010 and everyone was very excited about it but within two years it is self-destructing and Labour locally here are seeing a real shot in the arm.

"There is no doubt we are looking at a situation where the Conservatives are going to struggle to cling on to the administration in Worcester."

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