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Labour's historic victory


LABOUR gained a historic victory in the Warrington Borough Council elections, strengthening their grip on the council and, in doing so, winning for the first time ever in the Liberal Democrat stronghold of Stockton Heath and also defeating the Conservative leader.
They won 15 seats, with the Lib Dems and Conservatives only picking up two each.
Probably the most dramatic victory was that of Chris Vobe – son of Warrington North MP Helen Jones – over long-serving Conservative leader Keith Bland at Culcheth, Glazebury and Croft.
A delighted Chris put down his success to a lot of hard work campaigning on local issues.
Former Tory leader Keith described the result as a “real kick in the teeth” blaming his defeat on the national scene and the fact Labour had the full backing of the local MP and Labour part band wagon.
At Westbrook, Lib Dem David Earl lost his seat to Labour’s Judith Guthrie while at Whittle Hall, Kevin Reynolds lost out to Labour’s Will Hughes
And there were many indications that the Lib Dems were taking a battering. At Fairfield and Howley, where Labour’s Kevin Bennett comfortably held his seat, the Lib Dems trailed third behind the Green Party, as they did at Rixton and Woolston.
Lib Dem leader Ian Marks described the results as “bitterly disappointing” and a reflection of the national scene. He also raised concerns at the poor turn outs, which in some inner areas of Warrington were only 17 per cent. The largest turn outs were in Culcheth and Stockton Heath, averaging just over 30 per cent.
Leader of the council Terry O’Neill and his deputy Mike Hannon both held on to their seats at Burtonwood and Winwick and Orford respectively. But there were some indications that with a low turn-out, all sides were polling fewer votes than they did last year.
At Hatton, Conservative Paul Kennedy convincingly held his seat with the Liberal Democrats, who had held the ward for years, coming third, behind Labour.
But Tory finance spokesman Paul Campbell lost his seat to Labour at Penketh and Cuerdley.
At Grappenhall and Thelwall, the popular former Liberal Democrat councillor Ted Finnegan – who lost his seat last year when he was due to become Mayor – showed that a personal following can still win through when he held the seat against strong challenges from both Labour and Conservatives.
All in all, the Warrington results followed the same pattern as those across the rest of the country.
To see video interviews with the winners and losers CLICK HERE

Top picture: Labour’s Chris Vobe celebrates his victory with his MP mother Helen Jones and other supporters. Lower picture: Labour leader Terry O’Neill, deputy leader Mike Hannon, with Cllr Steve Wright (left) and Laurence Murphy (second from right) who won the historic victory at Stockton Heath.

The final results were:

Brian Axcell* (Lib Dem) 1660
Paul Carter (Lab) 453
Phil Marshall (Cons) 1067

Bewsey & Whitecross
Jeff Richards* (Lab) 1478
Judith Wheeler (Lib Dem). 309

Nigel Balding (Cons) 633
Charlie Hulse (Lib Dem) 157
Pauline Nelson* (Lab) 1663

Burtonwood & Winwick
Stefan Krizanac (Lib Dem) 89
Terry O’Neill* (Lab) 1241
June Rios (Cons) 316

Culcheth, Glazebury & Croft
Keith Bland* (Cons) 1305
Merril Cummerson (Lib Dem) 264
Chris Vobe (Lab). 2134
Labour gain from Cons

Fairfield & Howley
Kevin Bennett* (Lab) 1505
Nicola Brent (Lib Dem) 220
Lyndsay McAteer (Green) 245

Grappenhall & Thelwall
Roger Cawthorne (Cons) 615
Ted Finnegan (Lib Dem) 1191
Mark Littler (Lab) 622
Michael Smith (Green) 94
Richard Vaughan (UKIP) 168

Great Sankey South
Sam Baxter (Cons) 370
Roy Smith (Lib Dem) 343
Tony Williams (Lab) 1507

Hatton, Stretton & Walton
Dave Hockenhull (Lib Dem), 145
Paul Kennedy* (Cons) 533
John Park (Lab). 197

James Ashington (UKIP) 395
Graham Gowland (Lib Dems) 591
Su Williams (Lab) 1195
Sheila Woodyatt* (Cons) 1458

John Davies (Lib Dem) 206
Mike Hannon* (Lab). 1517

Penketh & Cuerdley
Paul Campbell* (Cons) 824
Allin Dirir (Lab) 1603
Tim Price (Lib Dem) 97
Labour gain from Cons

Poplars & Hulme
Helena Campbell (Cons) 195
Iona Gillis (Lib Dem) 144
Brian Maher* (Lab) 1312.

Poulton North
Sandra Bradshaw*(Lib Dem) 802
Mark Chapman (Cons) 241
Billy Lines-Rowlands (Lab) 1226
Labour gain from Lib Dem

Poulton South
Jeff Butler (Lib Dem) 262
Colin Froggatt*(Lab) 1109
Eveline Van Der Steen (Green) 132

Rixton & Woolston
Diana Grylls (Lib Dem) 90
Lilian Houghton (Cons) 426
Ross Lloyd (Green) 208
Tony McCarthy*(Lab) 1446

Stockton Heath
Laurence Murphy (Lab) 664
Ann Raymond (Lib Dem) 434
Stephen Taylor (Cons) 605
Kenneth Wilson (Green) 140
Lab gain from Lib Dem

David Earl* (LibDem) 507
Michael Foxall (Cons) 183
Judith Guthrie (Lab) 674
Labour gain from Lib Dem

Whittle Hall
Stephanie Davies (Green) 126
Will Hughes (Lab) 1119
Jonathan Levy (Cons) 361
Kevin Reynolds* (Lib Dem).865
Labour gain from Lib Dem

*denotes sitting councillor.


About Author

Experienced journalist for more than 35 years. Managing Director of magazine publishing group with six in-house titles and on-line daily newspaper for Warrington. Experienced writer, photographer, PR consultant and media expert having written for local, regional and national newspapers. Specialties: PR, media, social networking, photographer, networking, advertising, sales, media crisis management. Patron Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace. Trustee Warrington Disability Partnership. Former Chairman of Warrington Town FC.


  1. at last – a council with sense!

    Why rush around after a long day to count the slips.

    Close up, get a good nights sleep and come back in the morning nice and refreshed.

    Easy solution -and credit to Warrington to think of it.

  2. For the good of Warrington, now they need to grab back the reins of real power from the unelected ones who have exercised it wrongly for far too long.

  3. Local elections based on national issues yet again. We can all but hope that the Labour Councillors with sense and morals will challenge the idiots at the top and give the labour group a good shake up that it has needed for years.

  4. Well done Steven sorry you only managed to come second you have really made a change in Stockton Heath Parish council., glad the limp dems came a resounding third. Congratulations to Laurence Murphy i’m sure between you you will turn round this Parish council and bring some fresh blood into this ageing stale bunch of hasbeens .

  5. Irrelevent who’s elected. The councillors gave up taking responsibility for actually running the services they were elected to run years ago. It’s time the Press realised this and insisted on getting interviews with the heads of departments who actually wield power, rather than giving the useless councillors column inches to build up their egos.

  6. council tax payer on

    If only…. If only…. this will make any difference to the way WBC is run. As the unelected Directors run the Council why do we have to spend all this money on electing people who have no say whatsoever in the way things are run! Will someone please explain to me how this is going to make a difference? We were promised that this Council was to return to the “Democratic” sytem of Committees following on from the Local Government Bill. When is this going to happen? If not please explain to the electorate how all the Councillors who are not a member of the “Executive” earn their salaries. Unless there is a radical shake up of the way WBC is run the whole process falls into disrepute.

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