Tory leadership rumours: Is Councillor John Bell to step down after a dismal night at the polls?

By Ben Burrows

Tameside could have a new Conservative leader with rumours abound that Cllr John Bell is to step down.

The Tories took a pummelling in the polls on Thursday as Labour tightened their grip on the borough.

And it is thought that now Cllr Bell could pay the price for his party’s poor performance.

Speaking on the night he said: “Sadly, it looks like a disappointing night for us.

“It looks like a protest vote from UKIP, who have done no work and put out no literature, has hurt us.”

Labour held 15 seats as well as gaining control of Ashton Hurst, Stalybridge North and Hyde Werneth from the Conservatives.

They also took Mossley off the Independents increasing their majority in the area to 52 of the 57 seats.

Speaking prior to the results Cllr Bell said: “It will be a blow if we lose one of our heartlands of Stalybridge South or Hyde Werneth.”

Indeed, the most damaging knock was the loss of Hyde Werneth to Labour – a seat they have held for 16 years.

Labour’s Raja Miah struck a telling blow for his party beating incumbent Tory Cllr Floyd Paterson by 1923 votes to 1470.

The results in Tameside were reflected nationwide with both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats suffering significant losses all over the country.

Labour finished the night with 584 more councillors with the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats losing 328 and 190 respectively.

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