Rugby election: Conservatives boost council majority

The count took place at the Benn Hall.
The count took place at the Benn Hall.

After an overall turnout of 34% this year's borough election saw the Conservatives increase their council majority during a night leader Michael Stokes described as "fantastic".

The polls closed at 10pm and the Advertiser spent the night at the Benn Hall to bring you the results as we got them.

Because Rugby council uses the 'thirds' election system, 14 of council's seats in 14 wards were up for grabs this time round.

Up until this election, the Conservatives led the council with 23 of the 42 seats, while Labour had nine councillors and the Liberal Democrats eight.

The Conservatives took Hillmorton and Wolston & The Lawfords, both independent seats, while the Liberal Democrats regained Eastlands - meaning a gain of one seat each for the two parties while Labour's position remained the same.

This means the Conservatives now hold 24 council seats, while the Liberal Democrats and Labour hold nine.

Council leader and Conservative Cllr Michael Stokes said the night was "fantastic", praising the party for taking both independent seats.

He said the election result demonstrated the faith Rugbeians have in the Conservatives to deliver excellent service and he later took to Twitter to congratulate all those involved in the election for a well-fought campaign.

At the start of the evening the Advertiser asked Lib Dem leader Jerry Roodhouse how he was feeling. He joked: "Extremely nervous and a bit clammy and sweaty."

The nerves, however tongue in cheek, must have given way to relief when the second result to be declared showed Lib Dem Cllr Bill Lewis defended his Rokeby & Overslade seat with 1,265 votes to 552 for the Tories, 512 for Labour and 80 for the Green Party.

Cllr Lewis later told the Advertiser: "I'm very pleased that the residents of Rugby thought it correct to give me another four years as a councillor. It's good to know we are obviously doing something right."

He thanked everyone who supported the campaign and attributed the Lib Dem success in the ward as being down to year-round campaigning and getting to know the concerns of residents - in particular the ongoing debate over plans for a new secondary school on the Rokeby Field.

Yet more relief must have come when Lib Dem Cllr Noreen New defended her Paddox seat with 1,070 votes - with the Tories coming second on 668 votes.

Then came Cllr Craig McQueen's taking of the Eastlands seat from the Conservatives with 843 votes.

The Eastlands seat had been held by Cllr Dale Keeling, who was elected as a Lib Dem but defected to the Conservatives last year. For the election, Cllr Keeling was transferred to Admirals and Cawston as the Tory candidate - where he won.

Although Labour did not gain any seats, it did mange to increase its share of the vote across the board, giving the party a spirit of optimism and setting them up for what they view as a long-term plan.

Rugby Labour leader Cllr Claire Edwards told the Advertiser: "We fielded 14 candidates for the 14 seats and we're really pleased that we increased our percentage of the vote in all wards.

"For us this is the platform for taking the fight to the Conservatives. The problem with borough elections in thirds is that you don't get results overnight, success comes over two or three years.

"Everybody was out in every ward working. I'm proud to say we've never seen the Tories have to work so hard to keep their seats."

When asked if there were any disappointments on the night, Cllr Edwards said: "It would have been nice to get Jim Ellis elected in Hillmorton because he does so much work for the residents."

What is the 'thirds' system of election?

The 'thirds' system means once a year for three years running a third of the council’s seats are opened to election.

On the fourth year there is a break while the county council has its elections.

Warwickshire County Council's most recent election was last year, so 2018 is the beginning of the new three-year election cycle for Rugby Council.

Here are the results in full:

Admirals and Cawston

Turnout - 32%

Conservative hold.

Lee Chase, Liberal Democrats: 280

Jenny Farley, Green Party: 96

Dale Keeling, Conservative Party: 900

Will Pimlett, Labour Party: 706

Newbold and Brownsover

Turnout - 24%

Labour hold.

Eve Hassell, Conservative Party: 624

Ram Srivastava, Labour Party: 716

Mark Summers, Green Party: 167

Benn

Turnout- 27%

Labour hold.

John Keeling, Conservative Party: 366

Roy Sandison, Green Party: 117

Jim Shera, Labour Party: 966

Hugh Trimble, Liberal Democrats: 150

Marian Wakelin, Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition: 76

Wolvey and Shilton

Turnout - 37%

Conservative hold.

Ben Law, Labour Party: 187

Chris Pacey-Day, Conservative Party: 561

Bilton

Turnout - 42%

Conservative hold.

Chris Cade, Conservative Party: 1277

Phil Hemsley, Labour Party: 631

Lesley Kennedy George, Liberal Democrats: 190

Ian Wright, Green Party: 94

Dunsmore

Turnout - 39%

Conservative hold.

Deepah Roberts, Conservative Party: 1,775

Beck Hemsley, Labour: 547

Hillmorton

Turnout - 42%

Conservative win. (Previously an independent seat).

Jim Ellis, Labour Party: 711

Ian Picker, Conservative Party: 888

Peter Reynolds, Green Party: 60

Laura Slinn, Liberal Democrats: 112

Paddox

Turnout - 41%

Lib Dem hold.

Tony Meeson, Conservative Party: 668

Noreen New, Liberal Democrats: 1070

Maralyn Pickup, Green Party: 70

Jonathan Vickers, Labour Party: 469

Eastlands

Turnout - 33%

Lib Dem win. (Was previously Conservative seat until Lib Dem Cllr Dale Keeling defected to Conservatives).

Zoe Feeney Conservative Party: 511

Craig McQueenLiberal Democrats: 843

Patrick Steel, Green Party: 95

Matthew Weston, Labour Party: 505

Coton and Boughton

Turnout - 27%

Conservative hold.

Mark Brassey, Labour Party: 640

Jill Simpson-Vince, Conservative Party: 900

New Bilton

Turnout - 26%

Labour hold.

Bob Beggs, Green Party: 198

Mike Brader, Labour Party: 747

Adam Daly, Conservative Party: 494

Hossain Tafazzal, Liberal Democrats: 37

Wolston and The Lawfords

Turnout - 34%

Conservative win. (Previously independent seat).

Andrew Bearne, Conservative Party: 1174

Lauren Kennedy, Labour Party: 553

Pete McLaren, Trade Union and Socialist Coalition: 79

Lesley Summers, Green Party: 201

Revel and Binley Woods

Turnout - 42%

Conservative hold.

Anna Coupe, Labour Party: 507

Belinda Garcia, Conservative Party: 1406

Rokeby and Overslade

Turnout - 40%

Lib Dem hold.

Ian Black, Labour Party: 512

Kate Crowley, Green Party: 80

Bill Lewis, Liberal Democrats: 1265

Paul Wesson, Conservative Party: 552