Labour takes control of Cheshire West & Chester

The Labour Party won 38 seats in the Cheshire West & Chester Council elections and holds power by one seat after the final ward went to a re-count, finishing on Saturday evening.

Labour and the Conservatives were tied at 36 seats each – with one Independent – when counting was suspended late on Friday.

The tight 34-vote gap between Labour candidate Gill Watson and Conservative incumbent Adrian Walmsley resulted in a decision at 10.30pm on Friday to re-count with "fresh counting staff" the next day.

The re-count of Chester's two-seat Newton ward began at 2pm on Saturday and four hours later it was declared that Labour candidates Richard Beacham and Gill Watson had taken the seat of Adrian Walmsley and the vacant seat left by the resignation of fellow Conservative Tom Parry.

After the result was declared, Labour Leader Samantha Dixon said: "We fought this campaign on an ambitious manifesto which will build a fair and transparent authority that puts residents at the heart of what we do.

"We will care, and prioritise your views, and be honest about the decisions we take."

Cllr Dixon used her speech to pay tribute to former Labour Leader Justin Madders, now the newly elected MP for Ellesmere Port & Neston, and late party stalwarts Derek Bateman and David Robinson, who she described as 'giants'.

Former Council Leader Cllr Mike Jones said: "We in the Conservative Party are incredibly proud of what we have created over the last six years. Investing over £600m into roads, infrastructure and schools, with another £134m going forwards.

"We are proud of reducing the budget and creating one of the best Councils in the country. I'm sure there are some challenging times ahead but I look forward to this with interest."

In total there will be 22 new faces: 12 Labour, nine Conservative and one Independent, among the 75 members at the council's annual meeting on 21 May.

The previous composition of the Council was 42 Conservative, 32 Labour, 1 Liberal Democrat. The new composition is 38 Labour, 36 Conservative and 1 Independent.

The other unitary authority for Cheshire, Cheshire East Council, was a Conservative hold. The final tally was 53 Conservative, 15 Labour, 12 Independents, 2 Liberal Democrats. Independent councillors increased their share from 10 in 2011, and now represent residents in Wilmslow, Macclesfield, Crewe, Alderley Edge, Bollington, Middlewich, Nantwich among other wards.

Warrington was not surprisingly a Labour hold, the party now with 43 seats against Liberal Democrats' 9 and Conservatives' 5.

The change at CWAC puts the cross-borough Cheshire & Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership on a left-leaning footing.

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