County elections: Positives for Labour in Northampton as they dominate central wards
Despite a trouncing in the overall county poll, Labour supporters in Northampton have good reason to be heartened by this afternoon's results.
Not only did they actually gain a seat on 2013's Northants-wide performance, the picture in the county town is reasonably positive.
Last time round, only four wards were coloured red in Northampton but the day closed with seven councillors elected - all in central areas.
The party retained Abington and Phippsville, Castle, Dallington Spencer, and Headlands.
But they also took Delapre and Rushmere, St George and Kingsthorpe South from the Liberal Democrats.
Versus, the Conservatives' nine wards, members may feel that this points to a good performance in the upcoming General Election - especially given that most of the Labour wins in Northampton fall in one ward, Northampton North (currently represented in Parliament by Tory Michael Ellis). Labour candidate and former MP Sally Keeble has every reason to be encouraged.
Danielle Stone, winner of Abington and Phippsville (and the Labour group leader at the Guildhall) said: "I'm thrilled to win. It's a great vote of confidence in Labour, not only in Abington & Phippsville but in the borough council. I had a huge amount of support and we've rather bucked the national trend for Labour, I think.
"We've got lots of work to do for Abington in terms of road safety, pavement safety and making a residents' plan. Thank you to every one of my voters for your support."
A tearful Julie Davenport, (took the seat from Brendan Glynane in Delapre and Rushmere), said:"I'm overwhelmed. When we were out yesterday I had some wonderful people helping me. What meant so much to me was how much appreciation they showed.
"They said it would be close. Brendan has held on to the Delapre seat for years. If I had lost I would have felt like I let everyone who supported me down. But I didn't, and I want to say thank you to everyone who helped me.
"It was a very hard campaign to win. I must have handed out 25,000 leaflets. They have shown their faith in me and I will not let them down.
"It's a huge gain for Labour. When you think that across the rest of the country the Tories are taking everything and here we've made a gain."
Gareth Eales , winner of Dallington and Spencer:"It's been a very good day. I've doubled my majority, and I owe that to getting involved with the community and championing local issues. It's not just about making promises in an election while campaigning. It's about representing your constituents 52 weeks a year and not taking them for granted.
Rachel Cooley, Labour, St George (also took it from a Lib Dem) said: "I feel immensely proud to wear the Labour rosette today. There's been a lot of negativity around Labour saying that they can't win seats, but I've proven that wrong.
"I will work hard for the residents of St George and I hope they feel confident to come to me with their issues. I want to know what's going on.
"If it's going to be a Tory council, they we Labour councillors need to regroup and continue to hold them accountable for their actions.
"I'm disappointed that the voter turnout has been so low. A key priority for me is to get people signed up for the general election.
"I want to say a massive thank you to everyone who voted for Labour. You will not be disappointed."
Meanwhile UKIP lost its only Northampton seat, with Thomas Appleyard unable to build on the success that Michael Brown brought off in 2013, losing to Conservative Sam Rumens.
Mr Appleyard said: "This is not good for democracy, we don't have a balanced council. The people who win don't live there, they have done nothing in my ward."
But others in his party were encouraged. Toni Walker, UKIP, Billing and Rectory Farm said: "We have done better than anticipated considering the resources the other parties have. The Conservatives have Brexit and Theresa May. When I stood last time I got 800 votes."
The Lib Dems lost all but one of their five Northampton seats, including stalwarts Brendan Glynane and Sally Beardsworth. However, popular councillor Dennis Meredith's victory did at least get the biggest cheer of the night.