ELECTION 2016: Labour toast successes in Amber Valley but Conservatives retain control
The Conservatives have retained control of Amber Valley Borough Council by just one seat - but their leader has lost his to Labour in the process.
The ruling group picked up one seat from Labour but lost two to them, both in Belper, including that of leader, Alan Cox.
His Belper North seat was taken by Ben Bellamy, with Maurice Neville winning Belper Central from another long-standing Conservative councillor, John Nelson.
The Conservatives retained control of the council, however, thanks to Jack Brown who took Ironville and Riddings from Labour’s Paul Wardle by just 14 votes.
Paul Hillier, Amber Valley Borough Councillor for Belper South, said: “We are pleased to have been reelected - people have voted for stability, low taxes and a tight ship and that’s what you will get from us for the next two years.
“We have got some fantastic people who have been reelected today and we are actually really pleased with our performance.
“We are very disappointed for Alan obviously but I can honestly say I don’t think he could have done anything more.
“He was out there every day pounding the streets talking to people in a very closely fought campaign.
“And we are also disappointed also for John Nelson who was a very long standing councillor for us as well.”
As to who would be the next leader of the council Mr Hiller said he ‘hadn’t really got that far’ yet and that the group would meet next week to begin the process of choosing a new leader.
The Labour group were jubilant with their Belper wins but disappointed that the loss in Ironville and Riddings had cost them overall control.
Labour group leader, Paul Jones, said: “It is a bittersweet result but we have managed to demonstrate that Labour is a viable alternative in Amber Valley.”
“Our programme has been supported by the majority of people and we have won 11 out of 15 seats.
“The leader has lost his seat which will put the Conservatives into some degree of chaos when the council needs stability as it has some very important decisions to make.
“We will support budget decisions which we feel are reasonable but we will not support the wanton destruction of Amber Valley.”
Mr Jones said the ‘energizing effect’ Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership has had on the party membership was a key factor in their successes in Belper, with the party membership in the town trebling in the last year.
“The success in Belper where we have won two seats shows the impact of the new direction the party is going in.
“This is a direct consequence of the ‘Corbyn effect’ where people have seen we are a proper committed socialist party and that has been transmitted into the votes and the success we have had.”
The average turnout in the 15 seats that were contested was around 36% with a high of 47% in Belper North and a low of just under 30% in Somercotes.
A full breakdown of the results can be found on the Amber Valley website by clicking here.