“I think everyone should work together, let’s see if that happens.” [Simon Jupp, East Devon MP]
The dust has settled a little following the counting of votes for the District Council yesterday – but the significance is being realised the day after.
Interestingly, whilst the Conservative Party did badly both across the country and in East Devon, they increased their seats from one to three out of six for Sidmouth/Sidford/Sidbury: BREAKING: EDDC elections 4th May: results in – Vision Group for Sidmouth
Looking beyond the Sid Valley, there’s been more analysis and speculation about where we go from here:
Once again little separates the parties and groups in East Devon in this year’s local elections, writes local democracy reporter Rob Kershaw. The Independents edged out the Liberal Democrats by 19 seats to 18, but this is a notable improvement for the Lib Dems who managed only seven in 2019. The Conservatives were only just behind on 17, but lost their leader Philip Skinner who was displaced by Liberal Democrat Richard Jeffries. Coalition for East Devon? Local election results 2023 are announced and Independents win East Devon – Radio Exe
And from the BBC this morning:
East Devon District Council remains under no overall control, with the Lib Dems making the biggest election gains. The party gained 11 seats, with 18 overall, including former council leader Paul Arnott’s re-election to Colley Valley…
It is likely the Democratic Alliance, a cross-party group, will retain control. Mr Arnott, leader of the last administration, has been re-elected as a Liberal Democrat, having been elected as an Independent in 2019. He said the result was “indicative that the Lib Dems are really bedding in now in East Devon and it promises a lot more to come”.
Violet Bonetta, one of Labour’s three winning candidates, became the youngest-ever councillor in East Devon at the age of 18, said the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS). Ms Bonetta said she wanted to encourage more young people into politics…
Simon Jupp, Conservative MP for East Devon, said he was “disappointed” in the net loss of five councillors but that gains in Sidmouth and Exmouth were “positive”.
As reported within the hour by the Herald:
However, there were some Conservative gains. In Sidmouth Town Charlotte Richards took one of the two previously Independent-held seats, beating Denise Bickley by just 26 votes. In Sidford Mike Goodman gained a seat for the Conservatives from Independent Dawn Manley. In Exmouth Brixington the Tories won a seat from the Lib Dems, with their candidate Nicholas Cherry beating Andrew Colman. East Devon District Council elections round-up | Sidmouth Herald
And with further comment from East Devon’s MP:
“We will work together and hold the new administration to account, whoever that be and however that will look, because there was no party with overall control, to account for their decisions and what they plan to do. I think everyone should work together, let’s see if that happens.” Simon Jupp ‘It’s been a difficult day for the conservatives’ | Midweek Herald
Meanwhile, across the South West: Local elections 2023: Results in South West including Plymouth, Swindon, Devon and Bath | ITV News West Country and Cities red. Coast and country yellow. Torbay blue. – Radio Exe
Things were pretty dramatic in Plymouth, where a very local issue caused a ‘seismic shift’: How Plymouth’s tree massacre lost Tories the local election and Labour takes control of Plymouth council – after Conservative administration ‘tree… – LBC
And in Exeter, things were not quite so clear cut: Exeter electoral tectonic plates rumble as political landscape shifts – Exeter Observer and Exeter local election: Labour has mixed emotions after result – Devon Live
Finally, how did the new voter ID law affect matters? Voter ID law faces criticism as East Devon sees dismal response in applications – Devon Live and Watchdog to examine voter ID ‘challenges’ that led to people being turned away | Midweek Herald and Top Tory questions election ID change