Updated: Friday, 17th May 2019 @ 1:55pm

Elections 2019: Labour hold firm as opposition parties slowly gain popularity in Salford

Elections 2019: Labour hold firm as opposition parties slowly gain popularity in Salford

| By Henry DiStasio

Labour managed to slightly extend their majority in Salford last night despite the rise of smaller and outside parties.

The city’s ruling party were given quite the surprise in Irlam when their returning councillor Peter Taylor was defeated by Darren Goulden of the independent group CO:RE (community revolution party).

The independent group nearly repeated the same feat in Cavishead, as former youth mayor Lewis Nelson for Labour held off David Pike with a majority of just 64.

The main issue regarding the two wards was the proposition of developing 1,600 homes on part of Chat Moss and the former Boysnope golf course – a decision that has evidently proved unpopular amongst residents.

“I think the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework and the proposed new buildings will definitely have an impact in those areas under threat,” said Conservative Leader Les Turner.

The Tories themselves performed as well as they could have hoped – comfortably retaining their seats in Worsley, Boothstown and Kersal but not challenging anywhere else.

The election of their fourth seat in Walkden South was postponed due to the sudden death of Conservative candidate Andrew Darlington last week.

“The onus was to keep hold of our seats we’ve got and not have a thumping loss or narrow squeak that would indicate the Tories popularity is waning”, added Mr. Turner.

Elsewhere, the Greens made decent progress having competed in most wards, with Wendy Olsen finishing second in Irwell Riverside.

Bryan Blears, nephew of former Salford MP and government minister Hazel Blears, also performed well in the ward of Claremont where he picked up 379 votes.

There were some fears of Labour losing the ward due to returning councillor Mike Pevitt’s accusation that anti-Semitism allegations were a plot devised by Jewish Tories last year.

Despite these fears, Mr. Pevitt managed to hold onto Claremont with a far from convincing majority of 451.

There were more positive results for Labour throughout the night as Salford’s first ever Muslim councillor Sharmina August was elected in Eccles, polling an impressive 1272 votes.

Meanwhile, the Lib Dems opted for a more youthful approach, with two of the youngest candidates George Broadley, 22, and Joe Johnson-Tod, 18, standing for Pendlebury and Langworthy respectively.

“Voters quite like a young candidate who’s going to stick around rather than someone who’s been parachuted in,” said Joe Johnson-Tod.

Undoubtedly though the happier of the outside parties will be UKIP, who finished second in eight of the wards competed.

It was the first-time UKIP had competed in every ward and despite not winning a seat, this election clearly demonstrated their rapid rise in popularity in the area.

Overall, Labour were left relatively unchallenged in an election that could only persuade a measly 26.15 per cent to come out and vote.

The ruling party may have lost their seat in Irlam but two gains from independents in Swinton South and Weaste and Seedly saw their majority rise by one seat.

The results of yesterday’s election therefore leave Labour with 50 seats, the Conservatives with nine and the Independents with one.