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Greens win first-ever seat on Dudley Council
4:10am Friday 4th May 2012 in Wall Heath
THE Green Party were celebrating this morning (Friday) after winning their first ever seat on Dudley Council.
Will Duckworth romped home to victory in Netherton, Woodside and St Andrews where he polled 1,525 votes beating his nearest rival (Labour's Mahbub Rahman) by 256 votes. Conservative candidate Steven Ridley (standing in after sitting councillor John Davies retired) was left trailing behind with 335 votes while UKIP went home with 257.
Former maths teacher Will, aged 58, described his first-time win - after placing second last year - as "amazing". He told the News: "It really shows that when you've got someone working hard for the residents they take notice. We've been telling them constantly what our policies are and people like our policies because they make sense."
He added: "I really want to make a difference to people in the borough and try to fight against the cuts as much as we possibly can."
One of his first priorities, he said, now he's won a place on Dudley - will be to delve deeper into issues surrounding the level of emissions coming from Dudley Council's Lister Road waste depot in Netherton.
Also, at the Brierley Hill election count - held at the civic hall, newly converted Labour candidates Lynn Boleyn and Dave Tyler won back the seats they lost as Lib Dem councillors in Kingswinford North and Wall Heath in 2010 and 2011 respectively - knocking out Conservative councillor Denise Harley by just 22 votes.
In an ironic twist, Lynn Boleyn won the seat left vacant by former Tory councillor Paul Woodall, who resigned after a domestic dispute with his wife landed him in court and who had only been serving as a councillor since he ousted Lynn in 2010. She said: " It's strange that I've got my seat back from the guy who took it off me." She said it would be "great" to again work with colleague Dave Tyler, who said: "It's nice to be back." He added: "We're just really pleased for the people who voted for us. It's obvious they want hard-working local councillors, talking about local issues - there's no substitute for the hard work we have done over the years." The pair both switched to Labour on the day of the last Lib Dem conference after losing their faith in party leader Nick Clegg and his policies.
Labour also gained Wordsley back from stalwart Conservative Party councillor Geoff Southall after nine years. Derrick Hemingsley turned the ward bright red with 1,293 votes to cllr Southall's 1,161, despite upsetting non-political care home campaigners this week by declaring a successful bid to save New Bradley Hall was a victory for Labour.
Popular former cllr Southall said the loss of his seat was "purely the electorate sending a message to central Government". He said he thinks Prime Minister David Cameron has "lost the confidence of the people". He added: "It's his fault. He will have cost us hundreds of seats across the country."
Brockmoor and Pensnett also turned red with former Netherton, Woodside and St Andrews ward councillor John Martin knocking out Conservative Sue Greenaway. He said: "We were so worried about the turn out and the weather putting people off going out to vote. We are so, so pleased we have won Brockmoor and Pensnett back."
Former cllr Greenaway, who has this year been Mayor’s Consort, told the News the result was no surprise and added that she'd had a "wonderful" four years on Dudley Council - particularly the last 12 months spent as consort to Mayor Michael Evans - who managed to hang onto his Sedgley seat.
Former Mayor Margaret Wilson retained Brierley Hill for Labour - exactly a year after she suffered a heart attack. And long serving Kingswinford South councillor David Blood was one of the few Conservatives to avoid falling victim to what's being described as a "bloodbath" for the Tories across Dudley.
He said after polling 1,588 votes: "I feel delighted that once again the residents of Kingswinford have put their faith in me. It's been a very difficult time across the country and this year's results reflect that but that's politics."
His closest opponent Shaz Saleem, who notched up 1,097 votes for the Labour Party, said: "Standing against cllr Blood was never going to be easy but it's been fun. For my first time I think I've done well. We'll see what happens in future."
The new look Dudley Council now comprises 41 Labour councillors, 29 Conservatives and one Green Party councillor.
For a full results from around the borough, see our Local Elections 2012 section.