CONSERVATIVES in Coventry have increased their position on the council, with the Labour Party retaining its overall majority.
Last night in each of the city’s wards one of the three seats was up for grabs, with Tory candidates gaining three seats in Westwood, Bablake and Woodlands Wards.
This means that while the Labour Party still hold a massive majority on the council, the Conservatives now control 15 of the council’s 54 seats.
In Woodlands ward, where incumbent Labour councillor Steven Thomas was not standing for re-election, the ongoing issue of Green Belt development saw voters swing to the right – electing Conservative Green Belt campaigner Gary Ridley over Labour’s Patricia Hetherton with 2,016 votes to 1,537.
In Bablake, Labour candidate and Coventry university lecturer Alan East won 1,427 votes but was defeated by the Tories’ Glenn Williams with 1,579 votes.
Longstanding Greenbelt campaigner, resident Tony Middleton, and high-profile campaigner Walter Milner stood for UKIP and the Green Party and came in third and fourth place respectively.
But the closest fought battle of the evening was in Westwood, where Conservative Tim Mayer beat incumbent Labour councillor Maya Ali with just nine votes – 1,493 votes to 1,484.
The Conservatives also held seats in Wainbody and Earlsdon wards where local party leader John Blundell and his deputy Allan Andrews won roughly half the votes respectively.
As well as retaining the majority of their seats, the Labour Party also gained in Cheylesmore Ward, where former Coventry Mayor, Conservative councillor Hazel Noonan, was not standing for re-election.
There, Labour’s Rois Ali beat off competition from Tory Mark Taylor winning 1,903 votes to 1,771.
Labour also won a convincing victory in the controversial Sherbourne ward election, with Lynnette Kelly winning around 45 per cent of the vote.
Ms Kelly’s nomination sparked anger among some local party members when she was parachuted in by regional Labour Party officials over their heads – removing their ability to chose their own party candidate to represent them.
But it is not all good news for the Coventry Labour Party, with a leadership challenge against Leader Ann Lucas expected later this afternoon.
The Green Party and The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), which fielded candidates in all 18 wards, and The Liberal Democrats, UKIP and Christian Movement for Great Britain (which had one candidate in Foleshill) were all unsuccessful in seeing their candidates elected.