Labour and Tory leaders give verdict on Ipswich Borough Council election result

Ipswich Election count

The Conservatives did well in Ipswich after the borough council count. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

The Conservatives' success in this year's local elections in Ipswich could give the party a foothold on the road to power at the borough according to group leader Ian Fisher. 

But the council's Labour leader David Ellesmere feels that the result will not change the way the council is run - his party still has a commanding majority at the authority.

The Conservatives won six seats from Labour in Thursday's election - but because of the substantial majority in the council chamber this did not affect threaten the administration.

Labour now has 30 seats, the Conservatives 15 and Liberal Democrat Oliver Holmes defended his St Margaret's seat leaving his party with three councillors.

Cllr Ian Fisher, Conservative Group Leader and Councillor for Castle Hill Ward. Picture: Sarah Luc

Cllr Ian Fisher, Conservative group leader at Ipswich Borough Council - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Mr Fisher said the Tories exceeded his target: "I had hoped to win four more seats - I hadn't identified them, but I did hope to make those gains, so I am very pleased to have won six.

"We did go out campaigning in some areas we don't often work that hard - in seats where we haven't done very well in over the years. I'm rather disappointed we didn't win Whitehouse and we weren't that far off in Gipping.

"We hope to be able to follow up this in the next two years and put more pressure on Labour."

But Mr Ellesmere was confident Labour would hit back in future years: "This was a strange election. We wanted to keep it local but Covid was a big issue.

David Ellesmere, Leader of Ipswich Borough Council. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown

David Ellesmere, Labour group leader of Ipswich Borough Council - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

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"And from a tactical point of view it was difficult - we're used to putting a lot of volunteers out on the streets and talking to people on their doorsteps and we could not do that so much."

He said people seemed preoccupied with national issues - and the most complaints about local matters were about the state of the roads: "We tried to tell them that they should vote for us if they wanted a change in the way roads were managed!"

This year's results saw Labour losing seats in traditional areas of council housing - but they have lost Whitton and Sprites in recent years although this was the first time they had lost the Gainsborough borough seat to the Conservatives.

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