Elections 2019: Labour keep control of Rochdale as Brexit anger and apathy boil to the surface

Anger over the Brexit mess and a feeling of political apathy was the resounding message coming from candidates at Rochdale’s elections.

Turnouts were as low as 20% in some of the wards but even so, Labour won all of their 46 back and even took one seat from the Conservative Party in Littleborough Lakeside with 879 votes to Labour’s 697.

UKIP enjoyed an evening of high voting figures although not enough to gain any seats. They came in second in eight wards, one of those being Hopwood Hall.

Former mayor and Labour Coun Susan Emmott, a veteran politician since 1983, kept her seat comfortably there with 1,095 and UKIP coming second with 572.

“(It was a) tough campaign, explaining to people that Brexit issues had nothing to do with local councils.”

UKIP were expected to do well and Lee Seville had been campaigning for the party in West Heywood. 

“Ditch the red and blue tribal politics and if you want your message heard, vote purple,” he told MM before the result appeared.

The party came in second with a vote of 699 to Labour’s Jacqui Beswick’s 958.

Pot-holes and green belt environmental issues were another major concern for those knocking on doors and speaking to locals in an attempt to encourage people to come out and vote.

One of the highest votes of the evening with 2,142 was Mohammed Zaman, of Milkstone and Deeplish, who spoke happily about having so much support.

“The result is good news for Labour council and I feel honoured, and privileged to have this opportunity to serve the local community.

‘I’m grateful to everyone who came out to vote.”

Lib Dems came second with 145 and Conservatives holding joint third place with the Green Party, both with 134 each.

Liberal Democrats Councillor Andy Kelly won in his ward of Milnrow and Newhey again, with a total of 1,714 to Labour’s 595 as he hoped for another increase across the Rochdale borough.

“I stick to my guns and won’t be bullied. Labour just turn up here for two weeks before the election and don’t put any work in.”

Labour came in second with 595, despite his prediction of a spike in the UKIP vote.

Daniel Meredyth from Balderstone and Kirkholt kept hold of his seat with 880 to UKIP’s second place with 380. He said his biggest battle was trying to re-connect with people who had lost faith in the political system.

“UKIP is pushing disillusionment in politics,” he said. 

“I just want to get people to connect again and install some faith back in the system.”

Rachel Harriet Massey won 1,692 votes in Spotland and Falinge, followed by Conservative Steven Scholes with 429 and the Green Party’s Mick Coats close on his heels with 426.

Norden’s Conservative Peter Winkler kept his Conservative seat with 1,428. He said earlier in the evening that despite the ongoing voter anger with Brexit he was “quietly confident that local people will save the national issues for national elections.”

Overall, Labour came away with 47 seats, Conservatives with 9 and Liberal Democrats with 4.

Considering the fears of the main parties that the wider national European concerns would result in a surge of votes to the far right, the main parties didn’t do as badly as some thought but it remains to be seen how the rest of the counties across England fared.

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