Greens claim council seat while Labour retain overall control

Olly Hudson 8 May 2015

The Green Party have claimed victory in Cambridge City Council elections to Market ward while Labour have retained overall control of the council.

One third of council seats were up for election in wards across the City. Labour's majority of 7 seats remained unchanged, claiming 31% of the total vote, followed closely by the Liberal Democrats on 28% and the Greens on 16%. Labour won a total of 8 seats, the Lib Dems 5 and the Greens 1. 

This is the first time since 2012 that the Green Party has been represented on the City Council. Oscar Gillespie won the student-heavy Market Ward from the Liberal Democrats by just 7 votes, while just 13 votes separated the Greens, Labour and the Lib Dems in the top 3 positions. 

Tactical voting in the general election saw many Green supporters lend their support to Labour's Daniel Zeichner, whose victory over popular incumbent Julian Huppert represented one of the more pleasant surprises for the Labour Party on an otherwise devesating night. The overall vote for Green candidate, Rupert Read was just 8%. 

Read commented on the local result to The Cambridge News: "I think that's a much fairer reflection of where we are and the support we have here in Cambridge."

In his victory speech, Oscar Gillespie emphasised the need to cut food waste, boosting local food production linked to foodbanks and improving facillities for cyclists. 

Loss of Market Ward, which includes Sidney Sussex, Emmanuel, Jesus and Downing Colleges is something of an added blow for the Cambridge Liberal Democrats. Leader, Tim Bick commented: "We're obviously disappointed to lose the seat in such close circumstances – it's somewhere we really wanted to win." 

Sidney Sussex student, Dom Weldon was the Lib Dem candidate in Market ward, while Labour's Danielle Greene had held reasonable hopes of winning and adding to Labour's majority.