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Shock as Stortford elects non-Conservative to County Hall for first time since 1997


There was a shock Herts County Council election defeat as Bishop’s Stortford voted a non-Conservative into County Hall for the first time in 24 years.

Liberal Democrat Calvin Horner beat John Wyllie, chief of the city council and a member of the district council, within the Bishop’s Stortford East division that the Tory received by simply 80 votes from Mione Goldspink within the final election in 2017.

The Conservatives received the 2 different Stortford divisions in Thursday’s (May 6) election, however the get together’s share of the vote was down in all three, from 51.6% 4 years in the past to 43.5%. The Lib Dems, Labour and Green Party all noticed their votes enhance.

Market Square, Bishop’s Stortford. Conservative Party candidates for HCC. l-r: John Wyllie, Graham McAndrew and Alastair Ward-Booth. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (46928271)

Meanwhile, the Tories are on the right track to retain management of County Hall which they’ve held since 2001.

All 78 county council seats have been contested on Thursday. The 10 district counts in Hertfordshire – together with East Herts’ at Wodson Park Sports and Lesiure Centre in Ware – have been delayed till Saturday (May 8) on the recommendation of the county’s director of public well being, Jim McManus, as a Covid precaution. The poll papers spent no less than 24 hours in quarantine.

Going into the election, the Tories had 50 seats, Lib Dems 18 and Labour 10. In 2017, the Conservatives obtained 46% of the vote, Lib Dems 25%, Labour 21%, Green Party and UKIP 4% every and others lower than 1%.

The county council has been managed by the Conservatives for two-thirds of the 48 years since it was established in 1973. No different single get together has dominated at County Hall; HCC has had three separate spells, amounting to 16 years, of no total management.

It was General Election day in May 1997 when Mr Wyllie was overwhelmed by 161 votes by Lib Dem Gerald Francis within the former Bishop’s Stortford Central Parsonage division.

This time, his Lib Dem opponent Cllr Horner, who completed second in Stortford Rural in 2017, received by virtually 500 votes in Bishop’s Stortford East, a division that’s made up of the All Saints and Meads wards that two years in the past elected Lib Dem city and district councillors. At 38.85%, it additionally had the best turnout of the three Stortford divisions.

The new county councillor is a 58-year-old semi-retired voluntary sector employee. He is married with two youngsters and his hobbies embrace rose hybridising, gardening and native historical past.

Calvin Horner (46966275)Calvin Horner (46966275)

He is a former Bishop’s Stortford city councillor (2007-11) – and stood in Thursday’s city council by-election in All Saints – as nicely as an ex-Southampton metropolis councillor.

He stated earlier than the ballot: “Bishop’s Stortford’s current speedy progress means tackling congestion and enhancing air high quality are important. I’ll work to enhance circumstances for strolling and biking, the introduction of 20mph zones and improved bus companies.

“My precedence will probably be to guarantee Bishop’s Stortford residents’ views are heard, to enhance the city’s infrastructure and supply help for native residents and companies, such as new services to present additional training alternatives.

“The pandemic has highlighted the need of integrating well being and social care provision. I’ll work for a greater deal for carers and to shield companies for probably the most weak and disabled.”

Defeated Tory Mr Wyllie has lived within the city for 35 years. The 53-year-old firm director additionally serves as a trustee of the Rhodes Birthplace and Bishop’s Stortford Community Centres trusts. Labour’s Oya Er Wilkes, a north London council lacking youngsters co-ordinator, was third and the Green Party’s Graeme Hill fourth.

Market Square, Bishop's Stortford. Conservative Party candidates for HCC. Alastair Ward-Booth. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (46928325)Market Square, Bishop’s Stortford. Conservative Party candidates for HCC. Alastair Ward-Booth. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (46928325)

Another new boy is 23-year-old Conservative Alastair Ward-Booth, who received Bishop’s Stortford West after clinching his get together’s nomination to contest the seat as a substitute of incumbent Colin Woodward.

He polled 150 fewer votes than his ousted predecessor and noticed the get together’s majority drop from 1,174 to 755 and its vote share fall from 52.2% to 44.4%.

Cllr Mr Ward-Booth lower his political tooth as a 17-year-old schoolboy in town council from 2015 to 2019 and went on to win an East Herts district council seat in Stortford’s Silverleys ward in May 2019.

He is a Cambridge graduate and trainee solicitor who lives in Bells Hill along with his household and enjoys enjoying squash and studying in his spare time.

Labour’s Thomas Diamond, a trainer at Manor Fields Primary School in Thorley Park, was second with virtually 1,000 votes. Lib Dem city councillor Richard Townsend was third whereas the Green Party’s Madela Baddock virtually trebled her get together’s share of the vote (from 4.2% to 11.6%) in ending fourth.

Before his victory, Cllr Ward-Booth stated: “As a younger skilled I look ahead to bringing recent views to County Hall, and I help the investments in our county made by the Conservative administration. From investing in our roads, giving our care employees a pay rise or constructing new colleges in Bishop’s Stortford, I’ll help continued funding in our native space.”

Market Square, Bishop's Stortford. Conservative Party candidates for HCC. Graham McAndrew. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (46928342)Market Square, Bishop’s Stortford. Conservative Party candidates for HCC. Graham McAndrew. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (46928342)

In Stortford Rural, Cllr McAndrew, who can also be East Herts Council’s govt member for environmental sustainability and a former Bishop’s Stortford city councillor, was re-elected to serve a 3rd time period, however along with his majority diminished from 1,574 to 1,218 and his vote share down from 60.5% to 53.8%.

Labour’s candidate, 22-year-old charity employee Milly Lynch, virtually doubled her get together’s vote from 2017, rising the share from 11.2% to 20.1%, to end second.

Lib Dem Bob Taylor, 73, a serving city councillor and former mayor, was third and former trainer and parish councillor David Oxley fourth for the Greens, greater than doubling the get together’s 2017 vote.

Cllr McAndrew, who’s retired however stays concerned with the Eastern Region Institute of Logistics & Transport, is dedicated to tackling local weather change.

He stated: “My focus will probably be on a clear setting in step with local weather change issues. Taking a lead in environmental points and the prevention of flooding, safer lively journey, together with 20mph zones and progressing my Stansted-Harlow-Lea Valley cycleway.”

In Buntingford, Conservative Jeff Jones comfortably retained his seat, with the Green Party, who have been fifth in 2017 behind Labour, the Lib Dems and UKIP, second this time.

Cllr Jones elevated his vote from 2,281 to 2,393 however noticed his majority trimmed from 1,890 to 1,689 and his vote share drop from 68.6% to 61% as Green candidate David Woollcombe, who 4 years in the past stood in Bishop’s Stortford Rural, elevated his get together’s share of the vote from 4.7% to 18% (up from 156 to 704).



Calvin Horner (Lib Dem) 1,894 / 45.6%

John Wyllie (Con) 1,401 / 33.7%

Oya Er Wilkes (Labour) 568 / 13.7%

Graeme Hill (Green) 292 / 7%

Turnout 38.85% Result Lib Dem acquire from Con

2017 outcome

John Wyllie (Con) 1,517 / 42.1%

Mione Goldspink (Lib Dem) 1,437 / 39.9%

Val Cooke (Lab) 458 / 12.7%

Madela Baddock (Green) 179 / 5%

Turnout 33.5% Result Con maintain


Graham McAndrew (Con) 1,943 / 53.8%

Milly Lynch (Labour) 725 / 20.1%

Bob Taylor (Lib Dem) 562 / 15.5%

David Oxley (Green) 382 / 10.6%

Turnout 34.46% Result Con maintain

2017 outcome

Graham McAndrew (Con) 2,090 / 60.5%

Calvin Horner (Lib Dem) 516 / 14.9%

Alex Young (Lab) 388 / 11.2%

William Compton (UKIP) 201 / 8.7%

David Woollcombe (Green) 151 / 4.4%

Turnout 33.9% Result Con maintain


Alastair Ward-Booth (Con) 1,744 / 44.4%

Thomas Diamond (Lab) 989 / 25.2%

Richard Townsend (Lib Dem) 741 / 18.8%

Madela Baddock (Green) 456 / 11.6%

Turnout 31.99% Result Con maintain

2017 outcome

Colin Woodward (Con) 1,894 / 52.2%

Riccardo La Torre (Labour) 747 / 20.6%

Bob Taylor (Lib Dem) 604 / 16.6%

Robert Patterson (UKIP) 227 / 6.3%

Alexandra Daar (Green) 153 / 4.2%

Turnout 31.5% Result Con maintain