Tories win 34 of 39 seats on Fenland District Council – three Independents and two Lib Dems provide opposition

Newly re-elected NE Cambs MP Steve Barclay with former Fenland District Council leader Alan Melton a

Newly re-elected NE Cambs MP Steve Barclay with former Fenland District Council leader Alan Melton at the count. - Credit: Archant

The political landscape of Fenland remains true blue today as the Conservative ruling group strengthened their hold on the district council.

The Conservatives have won 34 of the 39 seats on the council, two more than they held before the election.

Many of the political upsets that had been predicted failed to materialise, UKIP in particular being a major casualty of growing expectation and the threatened Independent challenge failed to substantially materialise.

Council leader John Clark was delighted with the result. Speaking after he retained his seat in March East, he said: “I think the result is a reflection of the General Election. We weren’t expecting to experience this afternoon what we have.”

When asked if he will carry on as leader of the council, Cllr Clark said: “It would be up to the group to decide whether I carry on as leader on Thursday, but anyone can put their name forward.

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“It’s a discussion I need to have with my wife,” before deciding the answer is yes.

Cllr Clark also said: “I think it’s going to be a difficult four years with difficult decisions to be made. The budget has been cut by £8million and we can expect that to be cut even more.”

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Amid the political landscape there were some surprises, March North being one of them where Lib Dem Stephen Court gained a seat on the council for the first time, ousting former Tory councillor Peter Tunley.

The March North result was particularly disappointing for Mr Tunley who had made the issue of Estover playing field central to his campaign.

He said afterwards: “Whereas personally I can honestly say all 898 people who voted for me were personal votes, on the day I couldn’t compete with the national tide of support for the Conservative party.”

Such was the surprise to the Lib Dem winner Cllr Court that he had not booked a day off work to attend the count. He had to be telephoned by his Lib Dem colleague Councillor Gavin Booth.

The growing expectation is now that the Conservatives will end the day with 34 seats on the council, with three Indepenedents and two Lib Dems filling the opposition benches.

• To view all the results in detail, click here.

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