Party leaders respond to election result in North Herts

North Herts District Council offices in Gernon Road, Letchworth. Picture: North Herts District Counc

Political party leaders have responded to the latest NHDC election results - Credit: NHDC

The results of the election for North Herts District Council means that no single party has overall control of the authority - and the leader lost his seat.

The council was previously a joint administration between Labour and the Liberal Democrats with 20 Conservative seats, 15 Labour and Cooperative seats and 11 Liberal Democrat seats.

It now consists of 23 Conservative seats, 15 Labour and Co-operative seats and 11 Liberal Democrat seats

Mirroring 2019, two candidates from the Conservatives and Lib Dems had to draw straws to determine the outcome for one ward, after both receiving 727 votes each. 

The current chair of council, councillor Terry Tyler, retained his Chesfield seat for the Lib Dems by the drawing of lots, with Conservative Dominic Griffiths just missing the mark. 

NHDC leader Martin Stears-Handscomb put forward an amendment to Conservative leader David Levett's m

NHDC leader Martin Stears-Handscomb put forward an amendment to Conservative leader David Levett's motion for the council to back plans for a unitary authority in Hertfordshire. Picture: NHDC - Credit: Archant

Council leader Martin Stears-Hanscomb lost his seat, after changing course from the Hitchin Oughton ward, and running as the Labour candidate for Letchworth South East.

Mr Stears-Hanscomb has responded to the local election result stating that the Labour party "fought a positive campaign".Following a weekend of counting for the North Herts District Council elections, no one party has overall control of the authority - and the leader lost his seat. 

He said: "I am extremely pleased that Labour and Co-operative candidates held their own in the North Herts local elections, holding on to all but one of our seats on the district council and gaining a seat on the Herts County Council.

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"We fought a positive campaign based on the achievements of our joint administration with our Liberal Democrat colleagues and the continuing work of supporting our community with no-one left behind.  

"We have achieved a more welcoming and co-operative council. We have taken seriously the climate emergency and implemented a new climate change strategy with the aim of achieving our target of zero carbon emissions by 2030. And having supported our residents and businesses through the lockdown,  we have worked with other councils and our town Business Improvement Districts to open up and reinvigorate again our town centres.

"I look forward to the continuation of this work through our joint administration, with a new Labour and Co-operative leader.

"I was not personally successful in my attempt to win the ward where I live in Letchworth. But I leave a worthy Labour and Co-operative successor in Oughton, the ward I previously represented in Hitchin."

Mr Stears-Hanscomb remains leader until the Annual Council Meeting on May 20, where announcements will be made about the new administration and new leader for NHDC.

Councillor David Levett - Conservative leader  - said: “I’m very pleased to be re-elected as the ward councillor for Letchworth South East with an increased majority and would like to say thank you to everyone who supported me.

"My win is however tinged with some sadness that it meant Martin Stears-Handscomb has lost his seat on the council. 

"Martin has been a valued member of the council over the years, the last two as leader of the council and we have always been able to work together as friends despite our political differences.

"I look forward to whatever the future brings, although the council remains in no overall control the Conservative group now hold 47 per cent of the seats, and hope that my colleagues in the other parties would want us to set aside any political differences and past history we may have and all to work together for the good of those we have been elected to represent.”

Paul Clark, Steve Jarvis, Terry Tyler and other members of the Liberal Democrat camp outside North H

Liberal Democrat leader Paul Clark has said he is pleased after his party retained the two seats up for election - Credit: Archant

Liberal Democrat leader Paul Clark also retained his seat in the Hitchin Highbury ward.

He said of the results: "I'm happy that we held both our seats that we had up for election. I'm disappointed for my colleagues who fought hard who did not get elected. 

"One of the counts was closer than I would have liked, but that's what the residents voted. It was recounted a few times. It's not fair on the person who loses to lose like that. I felt for Lynda Needham in 2019, and I feel for Dominic this time around."

A full list of the May 6 election results can be viewed here.

For a list of Herts County Council results, click here

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