Salford Council Elections 2012 round-up: Labour snatches seats from both Lib Dems and Tories

By Jess Wilson & Hannah Hulme

Labour crushed the opposition in the Salford City elections last night, snatching seats from both the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives.

Mayoral candidate Norman Owen was knocked off his top-spot as Lib Dem leader when he lost to Sue Pugh in the Claremont ward.

All three Liberal Democrat seats were lost, with Labour gaining eight seats and the Tories losing three.

The British National Party were confident of winning at least one seat at the start of the night but ended it disappointed.

BNP supporter, John Quinn, 54, of Salford, attacked the Council Leader saying: “We’ve got to get rid of this John Merry. He’s just not up to the job.

“Why should asylum seekers get a lot more than our pensioners do in terms of benefits, housing, gas and electricity?”

Councillor Merry hit back, calling them delusional, although the party did manage to get 282 votes in Langworthy – previously a Lib Dem ward but won by Labour’s Paul Dennett.

Cllr Merry insisted it had been a night of celebration for Labour in Salford.

“I think it’s a vote of confidence in Ed Miliband as leader,” he said. “It celebrates the fact that we are back on track to form the next Labour government.”

He insisted that there would have to be huge enquiries into the performance of both the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives.

He added: “The coalition itself is very unpopular and it has spent a lot of time attacking the people of Salford who won’t stand for it anymore.”

In Walkden South, Labour had a very close call, just clinching the win with 1,169 votes to the Conservative’s 1,116.

Karen Garrido, one of the two successful Tory candidates, said she was delighted to have held her place in the Worsley ward and is looking forward to the mayoral elections results later today.

She said: “It’s a bit scary, being up for mayor, but it’s about time a woman was in charge.”

Mrs Garrido said she was optimistic for her chances in the election.

But for the Liberal Democrats, their thrashing seemed to have been a foregone conclusion.

Ronnie Benjamin, the Lib Dem candidate for Barton ward, said he had seen the writing on the wall for his party from the start of the count.

He explained: “That’s democracy. Labour have done absolutely nothing. From what I can gather they don’t attend any meetings.”

Mr Benjamin added: “Labour’s reaction when Norman lost showed that he had obviously been a thorn in their side.

“He hasn’t allowed them to get away with things that they wanted to get away with.”

Every party agreed on was that there was a distinct lack of interest in council candidates from the Salford community.

Also, all candidates were in agreement that more emphasis needs to be placed on local elections in Salford.

Mrs Garrido explained: “We’ve got to start connecting with the people again- the city needs them.”

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