Lib Dem success in local elections

In the English local elections this May, the Liberal Democrats were the story of the night, gaining 703 seats at the expense of both the main parties.

One of those gains was here on Wirral, where Andy Corkhill scored a crushing defeat over Labour in Oxton.

The seat had been won by Labour in 2015, but Andy stormed home with 60% of the vote, joining Stuart Kelly and Allan Brame as councillors for Oxton.

“It was a real team effort,” Andy said. “On the doorstep, people were obviously fed up with the incompetence of the Labour administration, and fearful of the growing influence of the hard left, which has driven Frank Field and a series of experienced Labour councillors out of the party.

“A few wanted to talk about Brexit, mainly wondering how we can put an end to the whole national embarrassment, but mostly people wanted to talk about local issues, often commenting how the Oxton Focus Team was already tackling the things they were concerned about.”

In Eastham, Councillor Dave Mitchell comfortably retained the seat which he has held continuously since 1983. This was a ward supposedly being targeted by Labour, but on a dismal night for them, they trailed in over 1100 votes behind Dave.

Elsewhere on Wirral it was a good night for the Green Party, who scored convincing victories over Labour in Prenton and Birkenhead & Tranmere. The Conservative vote was reduced in most wards, but they bucked the trend in Pensby & Thingwall, which was the scene of Labour’s fourth defeat of the night.

In Rock Ferry, former Labour councillor Chris Meaden stood as an Independent and came within 180 votes of defeating her old party.

This leaves the Council in no overall control. Labour remains the largest group, with 32 out of 66 councillors, the Conservatives have 22, Liberal Democrats 6, Greens 3 and there are 3 Independent Labour. Negotiations have begun between the party leaders over the formation of a new administration.