Greater Lincolnshire

Brexit woes as Tories left with mixed feelings on election night

It was a night of mixed feelings and disdain for national politics across Greater Lincolnshire for the Conservative Party as it gained one council, but saw its majority crumble on another.

The Tories suffered reduced majorities elsewhere in the county, which its local leadership blamed on Brexit.

With an average turnout of around 30% across the county, voters decided to make their voices heard to the two major parties.

Both West Lindsey and South Kesteven saw the Conservatives reduced in seats, while the party managed a four seat swing in North East Lincolnshire to take control.

It’s the first time in 23 years that the Tories have gained power on the authority.

You can read the overall results here and a detailed ward-by-ward breakdown here.

But, it was in North Kesteven where the party were hit hardest as they lost eight seats to the independents.

The Conservatives lost its majority to no overall control in North Kesteven. Pictured is Conservatives Richard Wright and Terry Boston who were elected as councillors. Picture: NKDC.

Again, the Conservative leadership blamed Brexit and “Westminster turmoil” for its losses.

Meanwhile, the Labour Party also suffered across the county.

Despite keeping hold on the City of Lincoln Council, the party failed to make a dent in Tory strongholds elsewhere.

In fact, Labour had a disastrous night in North East Lincolnshire where the Conservatives took three seats from the group and, ultimately, control of the council.

Ballot boxes lined up for counting in North Lincolnshire. Picture: North Lincolnshire Council.

Former cabinet members, David Bolton and Peter Wheatley, suffered shocking defeats as the Tories swept to power.

A further blow was dealt as former council leader Ray Oxby’s South ward seat also fell to UKIP to round off a dismal night for Labour.

Meanwhile, in North Lincolnshire, the party lost one seat to the Tories who increased their majority.

Labour still holds 16 seats on the authority, despite long-serving Councillor David Oldfield’s ward falling to the Conservatives.

The tally of councillors across Greater Lincolnshire. Not including ELDC which will count its votes later today.

But, it was the independents who can celebrate tonight after gaining seats and eating into majorities across the county.

The group made gains in South Kesteven by taking five seats from the Conservatives.

It was in North Kesteven where the independents made the most inroads, leaving the council with no party in overall control.

Gains were also made by the Liberal Democrats in West Lindsey as the party won a further five seats.

The results reflect what candidates felt on the doorstep, a local campaign dominated by national politics.

For the most part, Brexit has crowded out local issues and, as a result, major parties have been punished.

SUBSCRIBE TO LOCAL DEMOCRACY WEEKLY, our exclusive email newsletter with highlights from our coverage every week and insights and analysis from our local democracy reporters.