Local Elections 2019: North Herts council leader loses seat after drawing straws

NHDC leader Lynda Needham has lost her Letchworth South West seat after a drawing of lots. Picture:

NHDC leader Lynda Needham has lost her Letchworth South West seat after a drawing of lots. Picture: North Herts District Council - Credit: Archant

North Herts District Council’s Conservative leader Lynda Needham has lost her seat as Letchworth South West councillor to the Liberal Democrats’ Sean Prendergast after drawing the short straw – following a dead heat between the pair.

In circumstances where two candidates have recorded the same number of votes after several recounts - in this case, 800 each - election rules state that the matter is settled there and then by luck of the draw.

Mrs Needham and Mr Prendergast drew straws, so to speak, with the NHDC council leader subsequently losing her Letchworth South West seat.

The defeated council leader, who had been in the position for nine years, said: "I'm very disappointed. It has been a long time since the council has lad no overall majority party control, and what's next will be something between the particular parties now."

Labour gained two seats in the latest North Herts local election. Picture: Georgia Barrow

Labour gained two seats in the latest North Herts local election. Picture: Georgia Barrow - Credit: Archant

Sir Oliver Heald, MP for North East Hertfordshire paid tribute to Mrs Needham, saying: "Lynda Needham has given enormous service to the people of North Hertfordshire over 23 years.

"She has been leader of the council through some difficult challenges, including the recent Local Plan. All local Conservatives are upset that Lynda tied the vote with the Liberal Democrat, but missed out in the drawing of lots.

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"I would like to pay tribute to all Lynda has done and I wish her well for the future."

The Lib Dem party made five gains and had one loss following the election, bringing their total to 11 seats on the district council.

Liberal Democrats celebrate four gains at the North Herts Local Election 2019. Picture: Simon Jarvis

Liberal Democrats celebrate four gains at the North Herts Local Election 2019. Picture: Simon Jarvis - Credit: Archant

North Herts Lib Dem chair George Osborn said: "We are delighted with the outcome of this year's district council elections.

"With our group now sitting at 11 councillors as a result of five great gains, we believe we have a great opportunity to demonstrate how effected a slate of dedicated, hard-working and passionate Liberal Democrat councillors can be for North Hertfordshire."

The result also means that the Conservatives no longer have a majority, and a council meeting is to be held to elect a new leader.

The council now consists of 22 Conservative councillors, which is six lower than before. Labour councillors have 16 seats, after making two gains, and the Lib Dems have four more than before, with 11.

The results in full were as follows:

Arbury

- Tim Lee (Green), 88 votes

- Chris Schwick (Conservative), 453 votes

- Tom Tyson (Lib Dem), 570 votes (ELECTED)

Baldock Town

- Colwyn Luke Griffiths (Labour), 321 votes

- Rob Lambie (Lib Dem), 350 votes

- Michael Muir (Conservative), 941 votes (ELECTED)

- George Woolhouse (Green), 201 votes

Cadwell

- David De Smet (Labour), 95 votes

- Michael Goddard (Conservative), 207 votes

- Rosamund McGuire (Green), 72 votes

- Sam North (Lib Dem), 352 votes (ELECTED)

Chesfield

- Keith Abrahams (Lib Dem), 337 votes

- George Davies (Conservative), 595 votes (ELECTED)

- Mary Marshall (Green), 220 votes

- Yusuf Mayet (Labour), 226 votes

Ermine

- Suzie Anderton (Lib Dem), 187 votes

- Mark Gamon (Green), 104 votes

- Robin King (Labour), 40 votes

- Gerald Morris (Conservative), 492 votes (ELECTED)

Hitchin Bearton

- Judi Billing (Labour), 1,157 votes (ELECTED)

- Jonathan Clayden (Lib Dem), 351 votes

- Gulshan Mangat (Conservative), 328 votes

- Anni Sander (Green), 296 votes

Hitchin Highbury

- Leon Emirali (Conservative), 534 votes

- Angela Jean Griggs (Labour), 244 votes

- Keith Hoskins (Lib Dem), 1,606 votes (ELECTED)

- Diana Joyce Newson (Green), 181 votes

Hitchin Walsworth

- Ying Han (Lib Dem), 255 votes

- William Lavin (Green), 393 votes

- Mark Russell (Conservative), 570 votes

- Kay Tart (Labour), 994 votes (ELECTED)

Hitchwood, Offa & Hoo

- David Barnard (Conservative), 1,149 votes (ELECTED)

- Nicky Clark (Green), 360 votes

- Anton Jungreuthmayer (Labour), 260 votes

- Marilyn Parkin (Lib Dem), 305 votes

Letchworth Grange

- Steven Adelantado (UKIP), 234 votes

- Conor Brogan (Labour), 563 votes

- Sarah Cope (Green), 172 votes

- Morgan Derbyshire (Conservative), 708 votes (ELECTED)

- Josh Hamilton (Lib Dem), 187 votes

Letchworth South East

- Andrew Clare (Conservative), 783 votes

- Adem Ruggiero-Cakir (Labour), 796 votes (ELECTED)

- Sidney Start (UKIP), 242 votes

Letchworth South West

- Jean Andrews (Labour), 279 votes

- Wendy Gross (UKIP), 218 votes

- Lynda Needham (Conservative), 800 votes

- Nicholas Newson (Green), 201 votes

- Sean Prendergast (Lib Dem), 800 votes (ELECTED after draw)

Royston Heath

- Amy Bourke-Waite (Labour), 119 votes

- Sarah Dingley (Conservative), 538 votes

- Katherine Shann (Green), 134 votes

- Carol Stanier (Lib Dem), 963 votes (ELECTED)

Royston Meridian

- Christopher Arquati (UKIP), 147 votes

- Karen Harmel (Green), 140 votes

- Tony Hunter (Conservative), 699 votes (ELECTED)

- Stephen Lockett (Labour), 147 votes

- Peter Rice (Lib Dem), 340 votes

Royston Palace

- Angela Clark (Green), 170 votes

- Amy Di Capite (Lib Dem), 180 votes

- Jean Green (Conservative), 474 votes (ELECTED)

- Rob Inwood (Labour), 415 votes

Weston and Sandon

- Michael Hearn (Conservative), 109 votes

- Steve Jarvis (Lib Dem), 601 votes (ELECTED)

- Headley Parkins (Labour), 19 votes

- Des Stephens (Green), 25 votes