LOCAL ELECTIONS 2014: Labour celebrate in Wandsworth despite Conservative win


The party took six seats from the Tories.


By Koel Mukherjee

There were big cheers in the Wandsworth Labour camp last night as the party took six seats from the Conservatives, giving them a total of 19 to the Tories’ 41 for the next four years.

The big story was Roehampton and Putney Heath, which went from being a Conservative-majority ward with only one Labour councillor to red across the board.  

Between them the ward’s Labour candidates won 5,699 votes, while the Conservatives won 4,008.

Emotional Labour winners described the victory as the ward getting back to being itself.  
New councillor Sue McKinney, who won the most votes in the ward, said: “We all know that Roehampton is Labour at heart.

“I think we made a few mistakes 13 years ago but I think having candidates who are known to local people makes this win possible.”

She pointed to the weekly surgeries for constituents held by Labour, arguing that this is a service the Conservatives do not provide.

Conservative candidate Martin McGann was resigned to the defeat but hopeful for the future of the Tories in the ward. He said: “We’re disappointed at the result, but still very passionate about Roehampton and its regeneration. It was a close fight, and a very civilised one.”

He disagreed with the idea that Roehampton has a Labour identity, arguing that the ward is one of the most marginal seats in Wandsworth, and that the Conservatives do hold a regular constituency surgery in Putney.

As well as its Roehampton and Putney Heath victory, Labour gained a seat each in the previously all-Tory Earlsfield and Queenstown (a ward which has been Tory since 1986), and a two-to-one majority in Bedford – all-blue since 1990.   

UKIP candidate for Queenstown Richard Shuttleworth suggested his own party as the reason for Labour’s success – boosting them by splitting the Conservative vote.

However newly elected Bedford Labour councillor Fleur Anderson argued that if anything it was Labour’s vote that was split by UKIP, and that it was her party’s hard work and tireless campaign to connect with voters that helped it win more seats.

She said: “I’m really pleased Labour had the success it deserved.”

Wandsworth Labour leader Rex Osborn said: “We are a well organised and professional political party. We are campaigning to try and stop this Conservative administration paying hundreds of staff £3million a year of bonuses when they are cutting frontline service to the people of Wandsworth.”

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