Posted by: John Brace | 3 May 2019

Greens, Lib Dems and Conservatives gain councillors on Wirral Council as Labour and Independents lose seats – No Overall Control (no party has a majority)

Greens, Lib Dems and Conservatives gain councillors on Wirral Council as Labour and Independents lose seats – No Overall Control (no party has a majority)


Returning Officer for Wirral Council Eric Robinson 25th March 2019

Returning Officer for Wirral Council Eric Robinson 25th March 2019

Yesterday the people of Wirral (including myself) voted. I myself voted in Bidston and St James ward. Other people voted in the other twenty-one wards across Wirral.

The result of this election is that Labour has lost its majority on Wirral Council.

Most of this is because of what happened in the constituency of Birkenhead (this is the first election in my living memory that the Member of Parliament hasn’t been in the Labour Party).

In Oxton, the outgoing councillor Paul Doughty had been elected as a Labour councillor, but disciplined and auto-excluded from the Labour Party for campaigning with former Labour councillors who are now Independent councillors. This seat was won by the Liberal Democrats, which was a gain and means they now have six councillors (as the Eastham seat was also won).

In Birkenhead and Tranmere, the outgoing Labour Leader of Wirral Council Cllr Phil Davies decided not to stand. Won by a majority of only 71 votes last year by the sole Green councillor Cllr Pat Cleary, the Green Party increased its majority in this area to 1,140 and elected a further Green Party councillor called Steve Hayes.

In Prenton, one of the councillors in the ruling Labour Cabinet Angie Davies stood for reelection. Greenspace campaigners were annoyed with her support for the Cabinet’s decision on the Local Plan last year and the impact this would have on the greenbelt. Having been won by Labour councillor Samantha Frost last year with a majority of 592, this area was won by the Green Party’s Chris Cooke with a majority of 1,448.

Labour did however gain the seat of Rock Ferry from the Independent Councillor Chris Meaden (who had been deselected by the Labour Party in favour of Yvonne Nolan). However Labour only won this seat by a majority of 185 votes.

Moving to Wirral West, the ultra-marginal seat of Pensby and Thingwall which had been won last year by Cllr Kate Cannon for the Labour Party with a majority of 23 switched to elect a Conservative councillor this year called Michael Collins.

From memory elections in the other wards on Wirral did not change hands. So what is the result? There are 66 seats on Wirral Council and any political party or group needs 34 for a majority.

Labour 32 (down 2 seats)
Conservative 22 (up 1 seat)
Liberal Democrat 6 (up 1 seat)
Green 3 (up 2 seats)
Independent (who are a political group) 3 (down 2 seats)

So what will happen next?

On 13th May there will be a public meeting of all 66 councillors in the Civic Hall at Wallasey Town Hall to decide on the Mayor and Deputy Mayor. Labour Councillor Tony Smith (currently Deputy Mayor) is nominated to be Mayor. Labour Councillor George Davies is nominated to be Deputy Mayor. That meeting is then usually adjourned to the 14th May.

At the public meeting on the 14th May there will be a decision on the Leader of Wirral Council and Cabinet.

There are a number of possible outcomes that could happen. Discussions will be happening between the five political groups on Wirral Council.

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  1. An alleged racist to be Deputy Mayor.

    Having an election may have removed a few turds, but what about wiping up the shit smears and disinfecting.

    This is a job half done John

    • Thanks for your comment Paul.

      Cllr George Davies was recommended by the Labour Cabinet earlier this year to be Deputy Mayor. It’s up to the 66 councillors if they support this recommendation at the Annual Meeting.

      The Deputy Mayor spends their year going round to many events run at churches, community groups, charities and the like and gains important people skills ahead of the next year when they are usually Mayor.

      If the Mayor has a conflict of interest, then the Deputy Mayor chairs meetings of all councillors in the Council Chamber.

      A bit like an apprenticeship really.

      Election is by thirds, without all up elections of all three seats in each ward there is no possibility of major change at election time.

      People change and it remains to be seen how the culture of Wirral Council changes with so many seats changing hands and so many new councillors.

  2. They say its a hung council, or is they just wishful thinking!”

    • Thanks for your comment.

      Similar to a hung parliament where no political group has a majority.

      Hopefully this situation won’t take a £billion of public money to sort out though!

  3. Surely NOC makes it harder for the more controversial policies to be passed in the coming months? A Lib/Con/Green consensus should throw a few spanner’s into the moving machinery.

    • Thanks for your comment.

      The problem is that Liberal Democrat plus Conservative plus Green add up to 31 (one fewer than Labour) and three short of a majority. Or as it’s expected Labour Councillor Tony Smith will be Mayor this year, the same as Labour as the Mayor is expected to abstain on most votes.

      Negotiations will be happening behind the scenes ahead of the public meeting on the 14th. I will guess that unless relations between the two have soured over what happened in Rock Ferry that once the new Labour Group decides on who is doing what, someone from the Labour Group will reach out to the Independent Group (of former Labour councillors) and try to negotiate something.

      It will all happen behind closed doors though until a formal decision on the 14th.

  4. […] the local elections and my piece about the results although Wirral Council has been down this path many times in the past, people have some questions […]