Disappointed Labour vows to learn in Kendal after vote share falls to fourth, while Greens on the rise (From The Westmorland Gazette)
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Disappointed Labour vows to learn in Kendal after vote share falls to fourth, while Greens on the rise
A LOCAL Labour chief has said his party will learn from 'disappointing' local elections results.
Paul Braithwaite, chairman of South Lakes Labour, said lessons needed to be learned.
The party's vote share in Kendal fell to fourth following the rise of the Kendal Green Party.
Labour secured 948 votes in Kendal - compared to 6440 votes for the Lib Dems, 1729 for the Conservatives, 1032 for the Greens and 266 for newcomers UKIP.
The only ward of the 17 available in South Lakeland that South Lakes Labour did not field a candidate was Kendal Castle.
The party has struggled to get a foothold in the town and has no councillors representing Kendal on either SLDC or Kendal Town Council, as hasn't the Conservatives, Greens or UKIP.
And in SLDC's chamber, all three Labour councillors represent wards in Ulverston.
In the other three wards Labour fielded a candidate - Sedbergh and Kirkby Lonsdale, Mid Furness and Ambleside and Grasmere - the party polled 381 votes.
It put it fourth of four in Sedbergh and Kirkby Lonsdale; third in Mid Furness and in Ambleside and Grasmere it managed to take third by just a single vote ahead of the Greens.
Now the Kendal-based Westmorland and Lonsdale chairman, Mr Braithwaite, has said: "I'd like to thank everyone who voted Labour and all the people who worked so hard to help with our campaign.
"The local election results in Kendal, where a fresh voice on the councils (SLDC and KTC) is badly needed, are disappointing for us."
He added: "But we will learn lessons from them and will continue to talk to people and campaign on the streets.
"However, nationally the results were very encouraging for us. Labour had more Councillors elected than all the other parties put together, with heavy losses for Lib Dems and the Tories, it shows the policies that the party are starting to announce are resonating with the electorate.
"We have started work on the campaign for next year's general election already and will listen to peoples concerns and work hard to address them whilst putting forward Labour's strong new policies."
Kendal Greens said they were celebrating after taking a 'surprisingly large percentage' of the vote in both the local elections despite the fact candidates were standing for the first time in most wards.
The Greens stood a candidate in every ward and in total achieved 9.1 per cent of the district election vote, coming third overall.
Gwen Harrison, Kendal Fell candidate, said: “In the 2010 by-election we got seven per cent of the vote in Kendal Fell, so the result of 20 per cent represents a massive increase.
"As I canvassed I was shocked at how many voters were disinclined to vote at all. We gave people a new choice to vote for a more equal, just and sustainable future and they took it.
"The Greens are here to stay, and we’ll be working as hard as we can to demonstrate our principles and policies through action and campaigning on the ground”
Chris Rowley, Kendal Kirkland candidate said: “Within a few short months we’ve come from nowhere to grabbing third place overall and we only had a shoestring budget so it’s a great start. Our membership and supporter base has shot up too. We’ll carry this momentum on to future elections.”
The Green Party came in ahead of the Lib Dems both regionally and nationally in the Euro elections, though neither managed to secure a seat in the North West.
The Greens were second in three wards: Fell (20%), Mintsfeet (14%), Strickland (12%).
They were also third in seven wards: Highgate (14%), Nether, (8%), Heron Hill (7%), Far Cross (9%), Castle (8%), Kendal Parks (9%), Sedbergh and Kirkby Lonsdale (6%).
They were last in seven wards: Underley (7%), Kirkland (7%), Oxenholme and Natland (7%), Mid Furness (7%), Romney (10%), Stonecross (5%) and Ambleside and Grasmere (6%).
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