Lib Dems fall behind in local and European elections

Lib Dem MEP Edward McMillan-Scott, who lost his seat at this year's European election after 30 years.
Lib Dem MEP Edward McMillan-Scott, who lost his seat at this year's European election after 30 years.

The Lib Dems suffered defeat in the local and European elections, coming last in Wetherby, Harewood, and Cross Gates and Whinmoor wards and losing their long held Yorkshire seat.

Another feature of the elections was the rise of UKIP. Though all seats up for grabs in the local elections were held by candidates for Wetherby, Harewood, Rothwell, and Cross Gates and Whinmoor wards standing for re-election, UKIP candidates came second in three of those wards.

UKIP candidate for Wetherby and chairman of the Leeds branch Paul Spivey said: “We have the policies and the things that people have been saying on the street for a long time and nobody else has been listening to the electorate.

“It is simply the fact that we are actually listening to these people and trying to act on their demands.”

Conservative Couns John Procter (Wetherby) and Matthew Robinson (Harewood) held their seats for another four years, and the Cross Gates and Whinmoor ward seat was held by re-elected Coun Peter Gruen (Labour), with UKIP coming second in each.

Coun Procter said: “UKIP didn’t take votes from the Conservatives but from the other parties. They don’t do any work and they are not visible on the ground, but I completely respect and understand why people would vote for UKIP. It is not a localised issue and people aren’t voting for UKIP because of anything happening on the streets of Wetherby.”

The party fighting for independence from Europe was, however, nowhere to be seen in the Rothwell ward where Lib Dem Coun Stewart Golton re-took his seat, coming before Labour, Conservative, and Green Party candidates.

Still, in the other three wards the Lib Dems came behind all other parties in the results. Coun Golton said: “Because we concentrated our efforts where we already had representation it meant some of those areas didn’t have a high level of campaigning.

“In this particular election there was a wave of popular distaste for a lot of the major parties which meant the Lib Dems lost out to UKIP in those areas where we are not particularly strong.”

With the votes for the European election counted shortly after the local election results were announced, UKIP also had a strong presence for Leeds, coming second to Labour by less than 10,000 votes and beating the Conservatives by 16,000. The Lib Dems lost their seat and dropped to fifth place with 11,756 votes.

Lib Dem MEP for 30 years Edward McMillan-Scott lost his seat, with three of the six available going to Ukip, two to Labour, and one to the Conservatives.

The European election Leeds turnout was 34 per cent from an electorate of 534,130.



Conservative HOLD

Conservative - John Procter - 2995

UKIP - Paul Spivey - 1096

Labour - Paul Drinkwater - 1023

Green Party - Sam Murray - 508

Lib Dem - Sara Howell - 340

Turnout: 38 per cent


Conservative HOLD

Conservative - Matthew Robinson - 3542

UKIP - Peter Morgan - 1176

Labour - David Joyce - 928

Green Party - Paul Matthews - 358

Lib Dem - Christine Golton - 249

Turnout: 42 per cent

Cross Gates and Whinmoor

Labour HOLD

Labour - Peter Gruen - 2555

UKIP - Darren Oddy - 1808

Conservative - Elizabeth Hayes - 907

Green Party - Ben Goldthorp - 319

Lib Dem - Richard Morris - 136

Turnout: 33 per cent


Lib Dem HOLD

Lib Dem - Stewart Golton - 2429

Labour - Angela Kellett - 2018

Conservative - Stephen Ellis - 723

Green Party - Gordon Haycock - 385

Turnout: 36 per cent