Torrid night for Greens in Norwich as Labour increase its hold on the city
PUBLISHED: 05:27 06 May 2016 | UPDATED: 08:21 06 May 2016
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Labour’s grip on City Hall has been strengthened as they made four gains at the expense of the Greens.
On a night of mixed fortunes for Labour elsewhere in the region and nationally there were celebrations in the Norfolk capital as Jeremy Corbyn’s party extended its lead on the council meaning they now have 26 seats to the Green Party’s 10. The Liberal Democrats still have three.
On a turnout of 36.3pc Labour made four key gains in the Wensum, Nelson, Mancroft and Town Close wards, and held seven seats. The Green Party narrowly held one seat in Thorpe Hamlet on a recount. The Liberal Democrats held their Eaton seat.
Leader of the Green group at the council Ash Haynes said she had been surprised by the scale of her party’s defeat and blamed a “national effect”.
She defended their record in bringing issues to the fore in Norwich including over air quality, environmental standards for council houses and access to shops for disabled people.
“We are still going to keep doing things like that. We are not going to be complacent and we are hoping to come back and elect more Greens to the council. Even if we don’t we are still going to keep doing good things for Norwich because that is our main aim.”
Labour leader Alan Waters admitted the margin of Labour success had taken him by surprise.
“I started the evening thinking we wanted to hang onto Catton Grove to keep the city a Tory-free zone. I was thinking we might make one or two gains, but for us to make four gains which gives us a strong majority and some fresh talent on the authority, that is a very good outcome for us.”
“I could not have asked for anything better and I am surprised.”
He acknowledged the Jeremy Corbyn effect brought some voters who had previously switched to the Greens back to Labour, but said it was also testament to hard work and campaigning on local issues.”