ELECTION: No change at Stratford District

While Labour authorities toppled elsewhere in the country, Stratford's District Council remained resolutely true blue, and conservative in the sense that absolutely nothing changed.

The Tories retained control, keeping all 11 of their contested seats. The Lib Dems kept their share of seven, while Wellesbourne Independent councillor Roger Wright did not even have to get out of bed to campaign, never mind stay up late for the result.

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Comment sent in by George:

The real message for political parties should be that the majority of voters didn't bother to turn out, illustrating their cynicism and mistrust of those who would choose to represent us. Compulsory voting is not the answer. Honest politicians are.


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This did not mean the results were not interesting, with turnout dropping to new lows in some areas, and some young candidates challenging established faces.

In Southam, only 1692 of 4963 voters bothered to vote. Sitting Conservative Alan Akeister won at a canter but Labour candidate James Taylor found himself the only man on the stage when the result was read out – neither of the others were at the count.

He said: "The Lib Dems have taken votes off Tories and Labour. I don't think we could have stood at a worse time for Labour.

"In a way we had nothing to lose. We could have collapsed but we didn't. But people know the Labour party in Southam is serious about being elected and we will be back."

Labour had predicted it would also come second in Long Itchington, and it did – just.

Former Southam district councillor Carol Pratt chalked up 114 votes, the same as first-time Liberal Democrat candidate Alan Hall, but Conservative Bob Stevens won comfortably by 432 votes.

He said: "It's a vote of confidence and vindicates what I have been doing, which is working in partnership with the parish council – work I hope to continue."

Harbury Liberal Democrat councillor Andrew Patrick predicted the result would be close between himself and 25-year-old Conservative candidate Martyn Allan.

Hearing he had won by 259 votes, Coun Patrick said: "There was a definite attraction in voting for a local candidate perceived as doing a lot for the ward. I did hear of many people who changed their voting patterns to vote for me.

"Apart from that the people of Harbury and Bishops Itchington are lovely to represent and I will be happy to do that for the next four years."

Conservative housing portfolio holder Gillian Roache won with a 540-vote majority andcredited the warm weather with one of the higher turnouts in the district.

She said: "I have worked hard for four years and that has paid off. I have also been supported very well by my village associations.

"I can't remember life BC – before council – but I am really pleased to be able to carry on."

Stratford District Council leader Les Topham said he was pleased with the result.

He said: "The people of Stratford have indicated to us we are doing the job we are required to do and they are saying we should continue."

Referring to the authority's 'weak' rating in its 2004 audit commission report, he added: "It is my intention that at the end of the year we shall be a good council and the year after that we shall be an excellent council."