Reactions have been coming in from local councillors and politicians following this week’s Somerset County Council elections in Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge.
As we reported here, the Conservatives won all four local County Council seats in Thursday’s election.
Peter Burridge-Clayton retained the Burnham-On-Sea North seat and John Woodman held the Highbridge and Burnham South seat. Bob Filmer won the Brent Knoll seat for the Tories while Mark Healey retained the Huntspill seat.
Former Liberal Democrat MP Tessa Munt won the Wells County Council seat from Conservative John Osman by 95 votes. Mr Osman was the council leader.
James Heappey, the Conservatives’ General Election candidate, told Burnham-On-Sea.com on Friday: “It is sad to have lost John Osman in a close race in the Wells Division. John has been an excellent servant of the City of Wells for many years and has led Somerset County Council with great passion and commitment over the last five years.”
“Making six gains across the county last night was an amazing achievement but it is a shame that John will not be there to lead the enlarged Conservative group forwards at County Hall.”
“Claims of a Liberal Democrat bounce-back have been dismissed after the party lost six seats across the county and failed to improve on their 2015 vote share in the Wells Constituency. The Conservatives topped the poll locally with 47.5% of the vote with the Liberal Democrats in second on 34%. In the 2015 General Election, James Heappey won with 46.1% ahead of the Lib Dem on 32.8%.”
Mr Heappey added: “These results are an excellent platform on which we can build our General Election campaign. I am delighted that we have maintained our advantage over the Lib Dems but we must now focus on the important question of who will lead our country for the next five years. I have a strong record of action here in the Wells Constituency and I’m standing with Theresa May because only she can provide the strong and stable leadership that our country needs in the coming years.”
Tessa Munt, who won the Wells county council seat, said: “I want to thank you very much for voting me in in Wells and for all your support. I am absolutely delighted and it’s a privelege and honour to represent my family’s home as a Somerset County Councillor. It’s clear that people out there want something very different and I’m glad to give my full attenton to the job. I learnt a huge amount during the five years I served as your MP and in the time since. The time spent listening to people, talking to them, meeting them and hearing their concerns over that time has left me absolutely clear that you will get a bargain. You will get ‘two for one’ if I’m the MP and County Councillor for Wells, so I’m looking forward to being your independent-minded MP!”
Bob Filmer said after winning the Brent Knoll seat: “I am very pleased and proud to have been elected to serve the residents of Brent division.”
John Woodman said: “I’m very proud to represent Highbridge and Burnham South – I would like to thank everyone who voted for me and promise to work hard to improve our towns.”
Brian Hobbs, UKIP’s Burnham North candidate, told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “Following last night’s Somerset County Council elections results where I stood as a candidate for Burnham North, I would like to congratulate Peter Burridge-Clayton on his success in winning that seat.”
“I would also like to say a massive thank you to all the Burnham South constituents who supported me and gave me their vote. There is no hiding the fact it was not a good day for myself and UKIP, polling just 9% of the vote from a poor turnout of just 38.72%, although that was higher than the local average which was a disappointing 35.16%.”
“Coming in third behind the Conservatives and the Lib-Dems with their massive campaign budgets we at least managed to push Labour back into fourth. So once again thank you for your support and remember it’s your Council, it’s your money they are spending and it’s you that is affected by the decisions they make. You still have the right for your voice to be heard and I urge you not to be affraid to question what they do.”
We invited Peter Burridge-Clayton to provide a comment about his win in Burnham North – his response will be added here.
The full make-up of the County Council is now: Conservatives 35, Liberal Democrats 12, Green Party 2, Independent 3, Labour 3, Liberal Party 0, UK Independence Party 0.
.LOCAL COUNTY COUNCIL ELECTION RESULTS:
The local results are as follows:
FILMER, Bob The Conservative Party Candidate 1917
GORE, Tony Liberal Democrats 537
MARSDEN, Janty Labour Party Candidate 216
WILLIS, David Robert UK Independence Party (UKIP) 159
Percentage turnout 36.4%
BURNHAM ON SEA NORTH
BURRIDGE-CLAYTON, Peter The Conservative Party Candidate* 1485
HOBBS, Brian Royston UK Independence Party (UKIP) 278
MURPHY, Mike Liberal Democrats 1183
PRICE, Colin Michael Labour Party Candidate 178
Percentage turnout 38.72%
HIGHBRIDGE AND BURNHAM SOUTH
CORKE, Lorna Irene Bromley UK Independence Party (UKIP) 197
PARKES, John David Liberal Democrats 767
SCANLON, Lucy Labour Party Candidate 213
WOODMAN, John Charles The Conservative Party Candidate* 1065
Percentage turnout 29.79%
CHADWICK, Chelsea Joan Labour Party Candidate 337
HARVEY, Phil Liberal Democrats 513
HEALEY, Mark The Conservative Party Candidate* 1810
Percentage turnout 35.74%
Following the election, the successful candidates officially take up their office on the 8th May.
The Full Council’s Annual General meeting on 24th May will appoint the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Council, the Leader of the Council and the membership of the various Council committees. As the current council leader has not been re-elected, the current deputy leader, Councillor David Hall, will assume the responsibilities of the leader until Full Council on 24th May. Immediately after the Full Council Meeting it is expected that the new Leader of the Council will confirm appointments to Cabinet roles.