Liverpool

Election results: Labour loses overall control of Wirral Council

Labour leader Cllr Phil Davies Image copyright LDRS
Image caption Council leader Cllr Phil Davies said he was "very disappointed" Labour had lost control of Wirral

Labour has lost its majority in Wirral losing three seats to the Conservatives and the Greens.

The former ruling group needed to drop just a single seat to lose control of the Merseyside authority.

Wirral Council is now hung and will go into No Overall Control after surprise gains by the Green Party.

In Liverpool, Labour saw its majority reduced by three but the results were overshadowed by a shock move to scrap the role of city mayor.

In the Wirral election, Labour lost crucial votes in Birkenhead & Tranmere, Pensby & Thingwall and Prenton, with two cabinet members losing their seats.

But the party salvaged a seat in Rock Ferry, meaning an overall reduction of two.

Labour leader Cllr Phil Davies, who was not standing for re-election, said: "I'm very disappointed as we are now in a No Overall Control situation."

It was a successful night for the Greens who snatched two seats from Labour.

Their leader, Cllr Pat Cleary, said his now three-strong party was "made up", adding: "This is a sea change in fortunes for the Green Party."

The turnout was 37%, with the Tories also claiming victory on a night that saw them gain a single seat in Pensby and Thingwall.

Labour now has 32 councillors - two short of a majority, the Tories have 22, Liberal Democrats six, the Independents have three, and the Green Party also have three.

Image copyright LDRS
Image caption The Green Party now has three seats on Wirral Council

Analysis

By BBC Merseyside political reporter Claire Hamilton

The idea of the Green Party having two out of three councillors in Birkenhead and Tranmere would have been unthinkable until recently.

Wirral Council's Labour administration's been punished for its proposals to develop green belt land for housing (and a luxury golf resort).

The row, along with well-publicised splits between left and centre factions in Labour, lost the party three seats - two to the Greens and one to the Conservatives.

One of the Green gains was former Labour Leader Phil Davies' Birkenhead and Tranmere seat. He announced in October that he wouldn't be standing this time and was retiring from politics.

Whoever takes over his job as leader will have their work cut out, trying to unite a deeply divided Labour group and a deeply divided council chamber.

Labour saw its majority cut in Liverpool as the party lost three seats across the city.

But just minutes after the polls closed, a rival councillor announced plans to scrap mayor Joe Anderson's position.

Former deputy mayor Ann O'Byrne tabled a motion to the Labour Party AGM to drop the mayoral model and revert back to having a council leader.

She said the move was not about Mayor Anderson but she said the leader and cabinet model of governing would serve Liverpool better.

Mayor Anderson, who became the city's first elected mayor in 2012, said it was "distasteful" to announce the move on the night of the elections.

"My focus has been on working with my colleagues today on getting them elected."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Joe Anderson has led Liverpool's council since 2010

Elsewhere on Merseyside, Labour increased its majority in Sefton. It held on to Knowsley, although the party lost three seats, with two to the Green Party and one independent councillor, while in St Helens it lost four seats, including two more to the Greens.

Halton, which is part of the Liverpool city region, also saw Labour comfortably holding on to power, despite losing one seat to the Liberal Democrats.

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