Tameside election 2024: Labour retain control but independents make surprise gains

Labour held onto its strong majority in the Tameside election, but also suffered some unexpected losses to independents.

Three senior councillors lost out to surprise packages in two areas which swung independent, and one which was a Conservative gain.

That cuts Labour’s majority to 48 seats on the council, with the Tories up to seven (from five) and two independents (from none). 

One-third of seats were contested in Thursday’s voting, in wards including Audenshaw, Dukinfield, Stalybridge North and South, Mossley, and Longdendale. Counts started at 3am with results coming through in the early hours. 

Veteran Labour councillor David McNally, a local party whip and chair of the planning committee, lost his seat in the St Peter’s Ward of Ashton by 348 seats to independent Kaleel Khan.

Council leader Ged Cooney told the Manchester Evening News that local communities’ distaste for Labour’s stance on the conflict in Gaza was a major factor in McNally’s defeat. Cooney said: “You can’t control events, and that is world events and that will be echoed across the whole country. We know there’s an issue there and people have concerns about Palestine and we understand that. And people are expressing that with the national party.”

Khan wore a rosette in the colours of the Palestinian flag at the count but insisted that his campaign had been primarily fought on local issues. He told the M.E.N.: “Communities have woken up for the first time. Our current councillors have been asleep for many, many years and have neglected our ward, and the people have woken up.”

Another independent, Steven Barton, took the Stalybridge North seat off Labour’s Jan Jackson, the cabinet member for planning and transport. 

In an awkward instance of family politics, Ms Jackson’s partner, Labour’s Jim Fitzpatrick, was unseated in Hyde Werneth by the Conservative Christopher Halligan. Halligan’s win was largely thanks to Fitzpatrick’s own brother, Phil, who ran as an independent and helped to split the vote – potentially making for an uncomfortable Christmas dinner this year.

That gain of one seat is small consolation for the Tories, who have otherwise performed poorly across the country.

George Galloway’s Workers Party of Britain fielded a single candidate, Audel Shirin, who ran in Hyde Newton – but came last in the race with just 272 votes.

Vote counting across Greater Manchester’s local elections continues over the course of today, with Manchester, Rochdale, Trafford and Bury expected to be released by 4pm. 

Main image: Dukinfield Town Hall courtesy of Rept0n1x via Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported 

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