As the UK awakes to survey the electoral battlefield the Labour stronghold of Tameside remains firmly held, but results reveal a persistent shadow of UKIP and independent candidates in 11 of its 19 wards.
Last night’s election results in Tameside saw a host of returning labour veterans, with long time incumbents such as Peter Robinson and Brian Wild returning to power.
However, in several wards Labour saw surprising challenges to a traditionally easy hold for the party – Philip Chadwick of UKIP fielding the strongest alternative result of 1132 votes to Labour veteran Cllr Robinson’s 1597 in Hyde Newton.
“People want there to be change but people need to get off their backsides,” Mr Chadwick told MM.
“They want their voice to be heard.”
Independent candidate Carl Simmons secured a challenging 1001 votes against Labour newcomer George Newton’s victorious 1559 in Denton South.
Labour candidates however on the whole were adamant of the party’s – as well as their own – personal roots in the area to carry them through.
Cllr Robinson pointed to his own record as a councillor since 1998 for his confidence while talking to MM.
He said: “During my time I have lobbied and secured a new secondary school, a sure start building and other investments, I have stood on my record.”
A conduit for Conservative voters the councillor asserted that he provides Labour a vital outreach to constituents who know and trust him despite party lines.
The benefit of such an approach is all the more appreciated with the upset of the night, Hyde Werneth falling to the Conservatives under Ruth Welsh with 1771 votes to Labour’s Raja Miah’s 1686.
Cllr Robinson explained his approach: “You should never promise to do anything for any constituent, because you don’t know when you get the request whether you can fulfil it, all you can do is your very best.
“I have never been afraid to say that you can’t do that.”
The red wash victory in Tameside is at a glance a comfortable moment for the party in one of its northern heartlands, but as the dust settles the performance of UKIP and several independents should not be forgotten.
Image courtesy of Gary Taylor, via Wikipedia, with thanks