3rd MAY SAW THE LABOUR PARTY consolidating its hold over cities and metropolitan districts in its traditional northern heartland. The biggest story on the night was the Tories losing control of Trafford Council - the only Conservative council in Greater Manchester. They lost five seats, leaving the local authority with no party in overall control. However, Labour is now the largest party with 30 seats. The result was a testimony to the hard work of hundreds of Labour activists from neighbouring authorities who mobilised in the run-up to the elections to help topple the Tory leadership.
Manchester city council, which had all its 96 seats up for election due to boundary changes, was retained overwhelmingly by Labour with 94 councillors, although Lib Dem councillor John Leech now has a companion with Richard Kirkpatrick winning Didsbury West. As in many other places, turn-out in many inner-city wards was extremely low - in some cases less than 20%.
Salford saw its youngest ever councillor elected - Laura Edwards, 19, took the Walkden South seat for Labour, one of the party's two gains in the city, but the Conservatives gained one seat. In other big northern cities, like Leeds and Newcastle, Labour retained control easily, making some gains, although in Wakefield Labour lost one seat to the Tories - reflecting the almost total collapse in the previously high UKIP vote.
In West Yorkshire Labour gained Kirklees, winning three seats to take overall control. In my borough of Calderdale Labour won two seats from the Tories and lost one to the Lib Dems, moving closer to the prospect of overall control in 2019. Labour also increased its majority in Bradford.
It wasn't all good news. In Hull, Labour retained control but the Lib Dems won seven seats. In Sheffield, Labour lost two seats to the Lib Dems and tw
is Chair of Calder Valley CLP (writing in a personal capacity)