LEADING Labour councillors managed to hold on to their seats after a tense election night in Stourbridge.
Leader of the council, Councillor David Sparks had a tough fight on his hands as a fair share of voters in Quarry Bank and Dudley Wood favoured UKIP candidate Helen Wimlett.
But a relieved cllr Sparks managed to retain his seat when it was revealed at the Stourbridge town hall count that he had received 1,224 votes, with Miss Wimlett coming a close second with 1,120.
Speaking to the News after the result, cllr Sparks said: “I’m relieved to be re-elected and I do look forward to continuing to make Dudley borough one of the best foremost councils in terms of communities.”
But he said he was “very angry” that the local election was held on the date of the European election.
He added: “All parties on Dudley Council were unanimously in favour of sticking to the traditional first Thursday in May so people would vote on community issues not whether we are in or out of the EU.”
Labour also managed to hang onto Lye and Stourbridge North with Pete Lowe and Cradley and Wollescote with Tim Crumpton but Barbara Sykes was ousted from Wollaston and Stourbridge Town by Tory candidate Nicolas Barlow, who said he was “gobsmacked” by the result.
Although UKIP pulled a respectable number of votes for all wards, the party’s only win of the night was in Amblecote as Paul Bradley beat Tory Colin Banks by 71 votes.
During his acceptance speech, he said: “Why do I want to come out of the EU? Two words, freedom and democracy.
“Whatever the background or colour of people, we should all stand together and get independence back.”
Turnout figures, which ranged between 29.75 and 42.24 percent, weighed heavily on the mind of victorious cllr Crumpton.
He said: “We have got to do something to get more people involved in elections. There are a number of people we need to find some way of talking to.”
The Tories easily held Pedmore with Mike Wood taking a 1,109 majority and fellow Conservative Colin Elcock was “humbled” that 1,794 voters had re-elected him in Norton.
Although Stourbridge MP Margot James said cllr Wood would make an “enormous contribution” not only to Pedmore but to the council as a whole.
Ms James added: “It’s been a roller coaster night, it’s very difficult to take in immediately.”