Herts County Council Elections 2017: ‘We’re disappointed but we’re up for the challenge of the General Election’ - Labour county councillor Sharon Taylor reacts to lost council seats

Sharon Taylor

Sharon Taylor - Credit: Archant

Labour county councillor and Stevenage Borough Council leader Sharon Taylor says her party is up for the challenge of trying to defeat the Tories at the General Election despite losing crucial seats at yesterday’s Herts County Council elections.

It comes after her party lost three of its five county council seats in Broadwater, Shephall and St Nicholas divisions where the Conservatives won, ousting experienced party members Richard Henry and Jim Brown in the process.

It means that the only major Labour held area on the county council in North Herts, is now controlled by the Tories, which dominate the county as a whole.

Speaking to the Comet this morning, Ms Taylor who is standing as the Labour candidate for Stevenage in the General Election, said: “It was disappointing to lose great county councillors like Richard Henry who is a social worker and has so much more knowledge of that field than anyone else. It’s also disappointing not to win with young candidates who have come forward to stand for county council seats.

“It’s always difficult for the Labour Party in county council elections and we had a particularly good year last time around in 2013. Bucking the trend is always tricky.”

She added: “UKIPS’s vote has collapsed which has led to more votes for the Tories and they have painted themselves as the ‘hard Brexit’ party.”

But Ms Taylor said she was “honoured” to retain her seat in the Bedwell division.

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“I was first elected in 2008 and to be re-elected for a third time is a huge honour and it’s great to be able to take people’s concerns to county level.

“We know we’ve got a challenge on our hands at the General Election but we are really up for that challenge.

“We’ve got to really get out and get our message across.

“Theresa May wants a blank cheque on Brexit and harsh austerity cuts are affecting our public services.

We can’t let this happen.”

Ms Taylor praised young candidates including 25-year-old Joshua Lovell who impressively won the Old Stevenage Division, and praised the party activists who she said are “seriously undervalued” and council staff who helped run the election.