Voters 'given a clear indication that they wish for us to try and run the council'
- Credit: Ben Jolley
Cambridgeshire County Council is in a position of no overall control following yesterday's elections.
The final results, declared at counts across the county today (May 7) saw the Conservative Party win 28 seats, the Liberal Democrats win 20, Labour won nine, two seats were won by the St Neots Independent group, and two by other independent candidates.
The council had been in Conservative control before yesterday's elections, which saw all 61 seats on the council up for election.
The council will agree key political roles – such as leader of the council and all key committee appointments - at its annual general meeting which will be held on Tuesday, May 18 at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford
On a day of mixed fortunes for the Conservatives locally, Cllr Josh Schumann, re-elected to his Burwell seat, provided this reaction.
Tories lost overall control of Cambridgeshire County Council and saw their numbers drop from 34 to 28.
He was speaking to local democracy reporter Ben Hatton.
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“On a personal level I’m delighted to be returned as the county councillor for Burwell for Cambridgeshire County Council.
“I’m really pleased to be able to serve the community again because it means a lot to me to be able to support a place I love.
“But on a wider scale, obviously I’m disappointed that the Conservatives don’t have an overall control.
“I think the Conservative administration has done a fantastic job over the last four years supporting communities during a really difficult and challenging time, driving through its green agenda, its mission to reduce carbon and improve the environment.
“However, I am very much mindful that that [losing overall control] has been as a large result because we lost seats in South Cambridgeshire.
“Largely, I believe that due to the fact that there wasn’t a full field of candidates available to voters – the Labour Party not putting candidates up in certain seats inevitably had an impact on the numbers and has resulted in us losing some really good Conservative councillors.”
Q: What happens next? Does your party have the required support from others to retain leadership?
“Yeah, I truly hope it has.
“At the end of the day although we haven’t got an overall control, we are still the party with by far the most seats out of any other single party.
“I think the residents of Cambridgeshire have given a clear indication that they wish for us to try and run the council.
“We will obviously have to work in partnership with others, and we have done that before.
“I served under a no-overall-control council once before, and we managed to continue to run a good administration and to keep the council going in a really strong direction.
“And I’m sure we will do it again. So, we have to work with others, and so be it, and I’m sure me and my colleagues are more than happy and prepared to do so, and we leave our door open to want to work with others.
“And I hope more than anything that all of the councillors who have been elected – and I pass my congratulations onto them all – but I hope that they too look to put politics to one side and do what is in the best interests of the residents of Cambridgeshire. “
Q. Following the loss of seats and the loss of overall control, do you think there is room for reflection in how the Conservatives had run the council in that four-year period?
“I don’t think there is any reflection on the previous administration.
“When you look at the areas where we have had a similar candidates list to previous elections the results are largely the same, or if not in some areas we have seen an increase in the Conservative support.
“I think it’s where there has been significant change in the landscape of politics by, you know, not having the option of a Labour candidate, where we have seen that the results have resulted in the Conservatives not having overall control.
“I don’t think that’s a reflection of the council or what the council has done, I think it’s a reflection of a change in the options available to voters at the ballot box.
Q. Will the Conservatives be looking to secure the backing of other parties or independents?
“It is too early to say, I have to be honest.
“We haven’t started those conversations, but I am sure that they will happen, and we will speak with all members of the council to decide how best to go forward.
“I obviously hope that in some way we can work with our colleagues from whatever party or the independent group to ensure that we can form a good administration and continue the good running of the council.
“But at the minute it’s actually far too early to say what that make-up will look like and how we will work together”.