It’s quite a mixed bag for Labour today in Greater Manchester, with the election results showing that they now have an overall majority in Trafford but have lost seats in Bolton and Stockport.
In terms of planning and development, the key result has to be Stockport. The Liberal Democrats have gained five seats to become the equal largest party with Labour, with both groups now on 26 seats.
With the current Labour Council Leader, Cllr Alex Ganotis, also standing down, this creates a power vacuum at the Council. The Labour Group would need to rely on the casting vote of the Mayor at Annual Council to ensure that they could get a new leader and their executive approved ahead of a counter bid by the Liberal Democrats. However, the truth is its going to come down to which way the Conservatives and Independents vote later this month.
In any case, these results create a serious headache for day-to-day decision-making as any administration can be held hostage by their rebellious councillors and that’s without even considering future developments on the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (a Liberal Democrat administration would be entitled to a seat on GM Mayor Andy Burnham’s executive).
Over in Trafford, the Conservatives have lost 9 seats (down to 20) as Labour gain overall control of the council, having formed a minority administration on the back of last year’s results. This is quite a change when you consider that just 13 months ago the Conservatives were running the local authority and now even the best-case scenario for them is a 5-10-year rebuilding period. However, with the Greens solidifying their hold on Altrincham that’s made their job even harder.
In Bolton, Labour has lost decisive control of the council, losing seven seats bringing them down to 23 seats with the Conservatives up to 20. You would expect a Labour minority administration to form, but these results are quite staggering for the party, nonetheless.
Finally, results at Manchester City Council have seen the Liberal Democrats gain a further seat in Didsbury West and almost take a seat in Didsbury East, with Labour holding them off my only 59 votes. However, with turnout under 17% (Fallowfield) in areas of the borough, the story of the day is apathy rather than anything else.