Conservatives take Copeland by storm in County Council Elections

By Rachael Grealish

CONSERVATIVES take a strong hold of Copeland with gains in the County Council Elections 2017.

Chris Whiteside gained a seat for Conservatives with his win of the Egremont North and St Bees electoral division – photo by Robert Haile

Of the 12 electoral divisions, Conservatives took eight seats – leaving Labour with five-seat loss from the results in 2013.

Trudy Harrison, Copeland’s returning Conservative MP candidate, said: “I’m very, very, proud of my colleagues tonight. I’m really encouraged for the upcoming general election, but certainly not complacent. But, I’m absolutely delighted with the wins we’ve gained tonight.”

Coming just shortly after the by-election in February and only four weeks before the general election, set for June 8, Copeland’s turnout for the polls, on Thursday, May 4, was only 32.28% – but higher than the 2013 turnout of 26.9%.

All 84 County Council electoral divisions were being contended in Cumbria – including the 12 in Copeland.
Copeland MP Labour candidate, Gillian Troughton, was up for the Howgate Electoral Division – but failed to win the seat, which went to Conservative’s Steven Barbour.

Mrs Troughton: “I’m really disappointed with the result, but now I’m just going to be throwing myself into the upcoming general election.”

David Southward MBE returned the Egremont Electoral Division seat, for Labour, for his sixth consecutive time.

He Said: “I’m really pleased with the result and to return for the sixth time. I intended to represent the area to the best of my abilities and speak to the government about the Nu Gen projects and Moorside – which, unlike when I started running for County Councillor, are now up in the air and I want to get to the bottom of it for the people I represent.”

Also up for election on the evening was the role of councillor for Mirehouse Ward, for Whitehaven Town Council – which was won by Siobhan Gearing, 29, from Mirehouse.

She said: “I’m absolutely over the moon. I’ve done a lot the past the the community. I’ve been fundraising and I’ve been involved with the hospital campaign for the past three years. I just really wanted to do something and make a difference to the estate I live on.

“I’m going to focus on the play park in Mirehouse that has been really badly vandalised and hopefully help revamp the area to give kids, young children and older kids, teenagers, something to do.

“I’ve been out leafleting for the campaign, but I’ve also had a really positive response with the online campaign.”

Conservatives have become the largest party on the County Council, with 37 seats – falling just short of overall control by missing out on the ‘magic number’ of 43 seats.

Labour took 26, Liberal Democrats took 16 and, now, there is also five independent seats.

Both the Green Party and UK Independence Party failed to win any seats in Cumbria.

Results by electoral division in Copeland:

Bransty: Graham Roberts (607) GAIN
Cleator Moor East and Frizington: Arthur Lamb (629) GAIN
Cleator Moor West: Frank Morgan (567) HOLD
Egremont: David Southward MBE (789) HOLD
Egremont North and St Bees: Chris Whiteside (626) GAIN
Gosforth: Christopher Turner (1144) HOLD
Hillcrest and Hensingham: Andrew Wonnacott (816) GAIN
Howgate: Martin Steven (623) GAIN
Kells and Sandwith: Emma Williamson (684) HOLD
Millom: Doug Wilson (967) HOLD
Millom Without: Keith Hitchen (1150) HOLD
Mirehouse: Mike Hawkins (804) HOLD