Conservatives hold the council, but not without losses
The Conservative Party has retained control of Wandsworth Council for the 10th time in a row, but not without a fight as Labour made significant gains.
Wandsworth Town Hall remains true blue, with the Tories collecting a resounding 41 of the 60 seats available, but this figure doesn’t tell the full story of an election that saw Labour make considerable strides collecting six new seats.
The biggest changes were in Bedford ward, where Labour’s Rosena Allin-Khan and Fleur Anderson ousted incumbent Tories Alex Jacob and John Locker by a narrow margin while in Roehampton and Putney Heath voters chose a full set of red rosettes as Jon Carpenter was joined by Jeremy Ambache and Susan McKinney.
In Earlsfield Rachael Stokes was able to give Labour a foothold in the ward, joining Conservatives Charles Lescott and former mayor Adrian Knowles.
Queenstown saw further Labour gains with victory for Sally-Ann Epheson. Marie Hanson, who founded charity Storm and is a strong campaigner against gang crime was also a newly elected councillor in the ward, representing the Conservatives.
Marie Hanson is now a Conservative councillor
Labour leader Rex Osborn, said: “We held every gain we made in 2010 and made six more gains.
“People of Wandsworth are sending a message to the Conservatives. They are no longer convinced by this tired, out-dated, inward looking, bonus obsessed, Conservative council.”
Against this backdrop of Labour gain there were also a number of other stories being played out.
Labour may have been celebrating but a stalwart of their team Dr Billi Randall lost her place on the council after moving from the relative safety of Graveney to contest Nightingale, a move that ended in failure.
There was also no triumphant return for former Labour MP Martin Linton who was unable to break the Tory stranglehold in Shaftsbury.
In East Putney Leslie McDonnell and Ravi Govindia held their Conservative seats and with Rob Morritt, an independent after being ejected from the Conservatives last year, not standing. Tory George Crivelli was elected in his place.
The potential influence of Ukip was the story that never was. None of the 18 candidates came close to securing a berth and high profile member Neil Hamilton, the former Conservative MP polled a miserable 396 votes contesting St Mary’s Park ward.