TORIES IN TRUE BLUE VICTORY
May 07, 2003
A "terrific" night for the ruling Conservatives saw them gain three seats and increase their overall majority on the district council to 12. Overall voter turnout was a lowly 30.4 per cent.
Eighteen seats in total — a third of all seats on the council — were contested in Thursday's poll.
Of those, seven had previously been held by the Tories, 10 by the Lib Dems, and one by an Independent.
But by 3am last Friday, the Tories had secured 10 of those seats and the Lib Dems eight.
The Tories took Emmbrook and Little Hungerford — where Lib Dem stalwart Diana Buckley-Carpenter lost her seat — and won back Sonning from defector Nigel Rose, an independent, who did not stand for re-election.
Council leader Frank Browne said: "We had a 10 per cent increase in seats and that is a
terrific achievement and a good endorsement of our work so far.
"I am particularly pleased with the results in Emmbrook and Little Hungerford, and I am happy that we have a proper Conservative councillor in Sonning now. I look forward to working with them all.
"I am delighted we got our message across."
He added that he and his
administration had a "number of ideas" for the coming year, which would mean a "radical push in the right direction" for Wokingham district.
Sombre senior Liberal Democrats tried to stay upbeat.
Cllr Stephen Conway, chairman of the Lib Dem group, said: "We ended up losing two seats and that is disappointing, but we increased our share of the vote and did well in other areas such as Whitegates and Winnersh.
"We will build on these good results. This is just a setback, it is by no means a disaster.
"We knew the Tories were impregnable because we did not have enough seats up. But it enables us to still be in the game next year."
The first result to be read out was Wescott ward, where Cllr John Green regained his seat for the Tories.
This year's Wokingham District Council elections also saw
respected and long-serving Lib Dem Jack Earnshaw step down.
In neighbouring Bracknell Forest, the Conservatives also managed to increase their stronghold by four seats, with a shock defeat for Labour leader Cllr Austin McCormack.
Bracknell now has 35 Conservative, six Labour and one Lib Dem member.
> Thursday also saw the election of 23 Wokingham town councillors in seven parishes. Twenty Tory candidates were selected, two Lib Dems, and one for Labour.
The other parish councillors across Wokingham district were elected uncontested.