Conservatives wiped out in Leighton-Linslade in new look Central Beds Council after local election defeats

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A council tax freeze by the Conservative administration on Central Bedfordshire Council failed to prevent the party’s candidates losing out in the Leighton Buzzard wards.

Some Tory councillors lost their seats, while others had opted to retire from local government at this year’s elections.

But it was a bleak outlook in the town for the Tories, who also suffered locally in the town and parish council elections.

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Voters across Central Bedfordshire elected a new local authority made up of 27 Independent councillors, 20 Conservatives, ten Liberal Democrats, five Labour members and one Green Party representative.

Central Bedfordshire Council headquarters, Chicksands.Central Bedfordshire Council headquarters, Chicksands.
Central Bedfordshire Council headquarters, Chicksands.

This result means no group has overall control of the council. The scene appears set for the Independents to take centre stage, although not all sing from the same hymn sheet.

The previous administration had 38 Conservatives, 16 Independents, three Liberal Democrats and one Labour councillor, with one vacancy.

Altogether 240 candidates competed for 63 seats across the 31 CBC wards, with the declaration of results made at CBC’s Priory House headquarters in Chicksands during Friday.

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In Leighton Linslade North, David Bligh, Kevin Pughe and Nigel Carnell provided a clean sweep for the Liberal Democrats, with 1,285, 1,271 and 1,200 votes respectively to be elected councillors.

Mike Bishop polled 976 votes for Labour, then came Conservative Steve Jones on 956, Labour’s Patrick Carberry on 920 and Tony Morris on 911 for the Tories.

Jane Woodman for Labour received 876 votes, Conservative Ewan Wallace 864 and Antonio Vitiello 133 for the English Democrats.

It was the same story in Leighton Linslade South, as Liberal Democrats Emma Holland-Lindsay, Chris Leamen and Shaun Roberts obtained 2,355, 2,211 and 2,146 respectively to be elected.

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Among Conservative candidates to lose their seats were Amanda Dodwell on 696 votes and Ray Berry on 652. Labour’s Graham Marsden was next on 577, then Conservative Branko Bjelobaba on 566, with Clive Betts on 539 and Daniel Scott on 537 both for Labour.

Independent candidate June Tobin received 422 votes and another Independent Sarah Cursons 387.

And in Leighton Linslade West, Independent Victoria Harvey topped the poll with 1,786 votes, ahead of Liberal Democrats Steve Owen and Russ Goodchild, who were also elected, on 1,756 and 1,583 respectively.

Joseph Worrall for the Liberal Democrats was fourth on 1,021, then it was Conservative Julian Gallie on 942 and Labour’s Benjamin Bowles on 939.

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Labour’s Kieran Roan polled 888 votes, with Adam Fahn on 862 for the Conservatives, while Beverley McBain polled 838 and Independent candidate Ryan Battams got 618.

Independent John Baker defended his Aspley and Woburn seat with 1,844 votes. Conservative Martin Hawkins received 103 votes, Labour’s Neil Davies obtained 68 and James Emm polled 24 for the Liberal Democrats.

There was success for the Conservatives in Heath and Reach, with Mark Versallion retaining his position on the council with 782 votes. Labour’s Christine Shepphard was runner-up with 209, Rhiannon Leamen obtained 143 for the Liberal Democrats, Reform UK candidate Harry Palmer received 121, and Sebastien Hine of the Green Party got 54.

Central Bedfordshire Council’s chief executive Marcel Coiffait, welcomed the new council, saying: “As well as congratulating our newly elected and returning members, I thank the hundreds of polling and count staff who supported these elections. Our team has done a fantastic job.”

Appointments to the executive and the role of council chairman are due to be announced at CBC’s annual general meeting on Thursday 25th May.