Elections 2018: Labour and Lib Dems battle to 8-8 draw as Stockport Council remains in no overall control

Stockport Council remains without overall control after election day ended how it started for largest party Labour and the trailing Lib Dems.

The two biggest parties won eight seats each, while the Tories won three and the Heald Green Ratepayers claimed one.

The Tories made a net loss of one seat, while the Lib Dems made a single net gain, but the numbers don’t tell the complete story.

While most seats were won without much surprise, both parties made indents into opposition heartlands, changing the council’s makeup in some key areas.

Labour stronghold Edgeley and Cheadle North wasn’t contested after the death of Conservative candidate Maureen Baldwin-Moore, so a poll will take place on May 24.

For now, the council consists of 23 Labour councillors, 21 Lib Dems, 13 Tories, three Heald Green Ratepayers and one independent.

A successful night was celebrated by an emotional Labour group, and the council’s Labour leader Alex Ganotis heralded a “fantastic” night.

He said: “We’ve had some fantastic results in Manor and especially in Cheadle Hulme North.

“We are moving into areas in Stockport that we haven’t previously won in.

“This really is a credit to all of our activists who’ve worked so hard across so many wards and for so long in Stockport. We take nothing for granted here.”

The ballroom filled with expectation from the moment polls closed at 10pm and candidates were called for the first results at 12.45am.

Labour and the Tories retained their seats for the first four results.

Labour candidates Elise Williams, Rebecca Crawford and David Wilson all secured another term in Davenport and Cale Green, Brinnington and Central and Reddish North.

While John McGahan, Conservative, also retained his seat in Bramhall South and Woodford to complete a start without upset.

The first Lib Dem gain came from Cheadle Hulme South, which was reclaimed after Stuart Bodsworth defected to Labour following his election as a Lib Dem in 2016.

A comfortable Labour hold in Heatons North and the Lib Dems retaining Bredbury and Woodley continued what looked to be becoming a predictable night.

It wasn’t that simple though, as the Lib Dems took their second gain in Bredbury Green and Romiley after it was vacated by Independent candidate Mags Kirkham.

They nearly improved their night further in Stepping Hill but just missed out to Tory candidate Steve Torley, who held on by 102 votes.

Just past the halfway mark unrest coming from the counting room led to a reporting officer substitution as the night reached 2am.

Labour then caused their first upset of the evening in taking Manor by a large swing of 861 to make the first dent into the Lib Dem’s results.

Adrian Nottingham also held his seat by a large margin of 1448 to ensure Heald Green remains fully represented by the Heald Green Rateplayers.

Labour ended proceedings with the most shocking victory of the night as David Meller won the seat in ex-Lib Dem stronghold Cheadle Hulme North by two votes.

The announcement was met with with a standing ovation by the Labour group who made up the vast majority that stayed until the end.

The average turnout was 36.1%, with a high of 48% in Maple South and High Lane and a low of 21% in Brinnington and Central.

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