The Stockport revolution?
While there may not have been dramatic change across the region or the country, the May 2016 local elections look to have been decisive for Stockport. It became clear early on that it could be a dramatic night, and proved to be so, with potential ramifications beyond the borough that are yet to play out.
At only one minute past ten, with polls newly closed, Stockport Labour announced that the former Lib Dem Executive member, Cllr Stuart Bodsworth, had defected to join them. Though he claimed that it reflected his opinions on national, not local, politics; and that it was more about wanting to join Labour than leave the Lib Dems; it will have been a bitter blow to the former ruling group. It was also a sure sign that Labour were confident about becoming the largest party.
The Lib Dems went on to lose Marple South to the Conservatives, and Manor to Labour, which was enough to make Labour the largest party. Cllr Sue Derbyshire’s loss in Manor meant that the Stockport Liberal Democrats have lost their leader for the second time in four years.
Cllr Alex Ganotis, the leader of the Labour Group and likely new Leader of the Council, hailed a “new political era” for the town. The wider consequences of the loss of Cllr Derbyshire, who was planning lead for the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, are not yet clear – but with the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework advancing, it is certainly a bump in the road.
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