LOCAL ELECTIONS 2019: Conservatives lose Babergh District Council to no overall control
The Conservatives have narrowly lost control of Babergh District Council, reflecting a nationwide trend of significant losses for the party in the 2019 local elections.
The Tories emerged with 15 seats - two short of the majority of 17 it needed to regain control of the authority, which now has 32 seats under its new electoral ward arrangement.
Leader John Ward and deputy leader Jan Osborne kept their seats, but cabinet members Simon Barrett and Nick Ridley were among the Tory incumbents to lose out, on a day where the Conservative Party has suffered heavy defeats around the country.
The Green Party had the biggest cause to celebrate, gaining four seats, having had no representation in Babergh's ranks from the previous election in 2015.
The Liberal Democrats saw all three of its incumbent members retain their seats, while Labour also broke even, returning with two seats - although both of its incumbents, Luke Cresswell and Tony Bavington, were defeated.
Independent candidates, meanwhile, won a total of eight seats, making them the second largest voting bloc on the council.
Speaking at the vote count in Ipswich, independent councillor for the Long Melford ward, John Nunn, who received the most votes of any candidate standing in this year's Babergh elections, said he had observed "a total rejection" of traditional party politics in the lead-up to the election.
"On the doorstep, the message that came across to me was the general public are totally disillusioned with our national politics," he told the Free Press, "and overwhelmingly, they were in support of independent candidates."
He added that the independents would now look to hold an urgent meeting with councillors from the minority parties to "decide our ambitions" for the council.
- Conservative Party - 15
- Independents - 8
- Green Party - 4
- Liberal Democrats - 3
- Labour Party - 2
- UKIP - 0
- Total seats - 32