Lib Dems pick up two but Tories triumphant

May 20, 2010 1:40 AM
In Brentwood Gazette
Drawing lots for Brentwood West at 6am

Drawing lots for Brentwood West at 6am on Friday morning

THE Liberal Democrats failed to shake the ruling Tories on Brentwood Borough Council at Thursday's local elections, despite gaining seats.

There had been much hype that the party would steal several seats but in a scene that emulated the national picture, they failed to make the inroads they had hoped for.

The Lib Dems picked up two former Tory seats - Brentwood West, which came down to luck on the night, and Brentwood North, taken from Russell Quirk in another close call.

A double victory in Pilgrims Hatch meant they took four of the 14 available seats.

However, David Kendall and his team still only occupy eight of the 37 seats on Brentwood Borough Council compared to the 27 held by Louise McKinlay's Conservatives.

The Tories lost two seats but Cheralyn Lewis helped keep their majority up by winning Brentwood South, gaining the seat vacated by retiring Labour stalwart David Minns and giving the Tories an overall loss of just one.

Cllr McKinlay said: "After everything that has come out this year, it is a good result for the Conservatives.

"It was a high turnout and we are pleased with the results. Our share went up in a number of seats and that is testament to the hard work of the Conservative councillors."

She vowed to start work on delivering their election pledges straight away.

"We will be supporting local businesses, offering cheaper car parking in town, keeping streets clean and retaining the weekly rubbish collection," she said.

Cllr Kendall said: "Overall we are delighted with the results locally considering we were fighting the general election on the same day.

"I believe the calibre of the councillors elected will add value to the work we do as a group both inside and outside the council chamber."

However, his colleague in Pilgrims Hatch, councillor Barry Aspinell, said: "I am bitterly disappointed because I think the general election saved the Conservatives. We were hoping to make a lot of gains but the general euphoria of the national election has taken over."

Newly-elected councillor, Phil Mynott, who will represent Brentwood North, was disappointed the Tories were not forced to sacrifice more seats.

Mr Mynott also quelled rumours he was going to cut off his trademark ponytail.

"I thought about it but then I decided if people vote me in as I am then I will continue to be myself."