Local politicians have been reacting to the results from the 2023 local elections in Stevenage.

13 seats on Stevenage Borough Council were up for election, with Labour looking to hold onto nine of them. The Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats were both seeking to defend two seats.

In the end, every seat was retained by the party that previously held it, though there was a close call in Longmeadow ward - with Cllr Alex Farquharson winning with a majority of 14 votes.

That means that Labour retain overall control of the council, holding 24 seats against nine for the Conservatives and six for the Liberal Democrats.

Here is what local politicans have said following the results.

Cllr Richard Henry - Labour leader of the council

"I’m delighted that we held all our nine seats, increased the Labour vote across the town, and very nearly won Longmeadow.

"The results in Stevenage show clearly that local people value their local Labour council.

"We have a strong track record of delivering for local people and that’s reflected in the faith that people have shown in us. We won’t let them down.

"But it also demonstrates people’s dissatisfaction with the Tory government and the damage they are doing to local people’s lives.

"The cost-of-living crisis is hitting local people hard, and Rishi Sunak and his government aren’t getting away with their corruption and lies.

"A general election can’t come soon enough, and it was clear on the doors that there is fantastic support for our parliamentary candidate, Kevin Bonavia."

Cllr Phil Bibby - leader of the Conservative group on the council

“We knew these elections would be particularly challenging, given the disillusionment of many of our supporters with what has been going on at Westminster, and it is unfortunate that our new Prime Minister has not had sufficient time to prove to the once party faithful that he can deliver on his positive pledges.

"However, this year’s Conservative candidates and supporters have worked very hard, getting out and about around Stevenage to talk to residents about their issues, and I am delighted that we have been successful in retaining the seats we were defending, meaning we still have nine Conservative councillors on the council to provide a viable opposition to Labour, able to hold their administration to account, for the benefit of residents.

"This leaves us with a solid position to build on going into next year’s elections, and increasing our share of the vote.

"We will, in particular, continue to argue for one-hour free parking at weekends to encourage shoppers into town, better parking provision for residents, the building of family homes in preference to flat blocks, the regeneration of local shopping centres as well as the town centre, tackling increasing traffic congestion and keeping our streets clean and tidy.”

Cllr Robin Parker - leader of the Liberal Democrat group on the council

"In the case of Manor ward, I'm very pleased to have held it with another large vote for the Lib Dems and myself - after 40 years, I'm still a councillor which is good to know!

"And secondly, in Chells ward we held out very well as well. My colleague Stephen Booth, an excellent councillor, held it with a good majority.

"Elsewhere, well, we held our vote elsewhere but it would be nice to have made gains. But we have to be realistic, our resources had to go into holding what we had already.

"We did make efforts in some of the other seats, and you can see that in some cases our vote has gone up. But clearly if people want to see the Lib Dems win more, they need to get involved and give us a hand to do that."

Stephen McPartland - Conservative MP for Stevenage

Kevin Bonavia - Labour parliamentary candidate for Stevenage

The Comet: Kevin Bonavia (left) with Cllr Richard Henry at the count.Kevin Bonavia (left) with Cllr Richard Henry at the count. (Image: Christopher Day/Newsquest)

"It's a vote of confidence in Labour in power locally.

"We've got a new leader here and I think it's a vote of confidence in our existing councillors and our new councillors who are going to do a fantastic job, and I can't wait to see what they can do.

"But it's also sending a message to this government which has been in power for 13 years, starved councils like Stevenage of vital funds, and I think people want to send a message.

"You can see that in the increase in our share of the vote. So this is serving notice on the Tory government and it's time for change.

"Labour made big gains both in Longmeadow and in Woodfield, in Tory heartlands, so that is a warning sign for the Tories."