Labour snatch South Jesmond seat, while Lib Dems retain North
The Liberal Democrats have lost one of the two Jesmond seats being contested in the local elections, while retaining the other with an increased share of the vote.
South Jesmond councillor Chris Boyle lost out to Labour rival Felicity Mendelson, who brought about a massive swing to Labour. The party’s share of the vote more than doubled since the last time the seat was contested, rising from 21% to 47%.
Mendelson praised Labour colleague David Hardman for the work he had done to help her campaign.
“I think the swing in this ward owes a lot to the work that David Hardman has done as the Labour councillor in South Jesmond,” she said.
“It’s been a really good day for Labour, nationally as well, so we feel that we’re on the right track.”
Chris Boyle said he was disappointed, but that he had “really enjoyed” representing the people of Jesmond over the last nine years.
“I’ll carry on working in Jesmond, supporting my colleague Tom Woodwark, who I think is an excellent councillor. Now my personal baton has passed over to Felicity and I wish her well with that,” he said.
Green Party candidate Tony Waterston polled 210 votes.
It was a different story in North Jesmond, where incumbent Peter Breakey won 978 votes, comfortably beating his nearest rival, David Hickling of Labour, with 523. Breakey increased his share of the North Jesmond vote from 52% the last time the seat was up for election, to 56%.
The number of votes was significantly fewer for all parties, however, with a much reduced turnout compared to 2008.
David Hickling was upbeat despite his defeat, saying that Labour was “still the main opposition to the Liberals in North Jesmond”.
The Liberal Democrats have endured a national backlash, so far losing 388 councillors. Labour has so far gained 739 seats nationwide, with Ed Miliband hailing it as a sign the party is “winning back people’s trust”.
Voters in Newcastle also rejected the proposition of introducing an elected mayor to the city.