East of the M60‘s look at 2019’s local election results

  • Lee Huntbach becomes Tameside’s first ever Green Party councillor;
  • Shibley Alam gains Hyde Werneth seat from Conservatives – with a slender majority of five;
  • So near yet so far for Stalybridge Town Party candidates;
  • Plus details of the Mossley Town Council parish election results.

In what was supposedly not the best of nights for the Labour and Conservative parties, Labour maintained its hold in the Tameside MBC chambers. Throughout the North West of England, independent candidates and local parties had chipped away at the major parties.

Tameside came close with the Stalybridge Town Party being second to Labour in Dukinfield Stalybridge and Stalybridge North wards. In Tameside’s Battle of the Daves, it was David Sweeton who emerged victorious. The sitting Labour councilllor polled 920 votes against his runner-up Dave McGovern. Mr McGovern stood for the Stalybridge Town Party, polling 680 votes.

In Hyde Werneth, John Bell’s seat has been taken over by Shibley Alam. The Labour Party candidate beat her Conservative rival by five votes. To gain a foothold in what has been a mainly Conservative ward was a fantastic achievement for Ms Alam.

For the first ever in the borough’s history, Tameside will have a Green Party Councillor. Beating Labour’s Jean Drennan in the Ashton Waterloo ward, Lee Huntbach’s focus on local issues paid dividends.

There were few surprises in most of Tameside’s other wards, staying loyal to Labour everywhere else apart from Stalybridge South. This is especially true with the Dukinfield ward, though the Green Party got its best ever Dukinfield result. Behind sitting councillor John Taylor, Green Party candidate Julie Wood polled 700 votes. This was higher than previous figures when the Reverend Vernon Marshall stood as Green Party candidate.

Though UKIP had been expected to capitalise on Brexit sentiment, their results in Tameside were no different to previous years. Of the borough’s five UKIP candidates, Maurice Jackson faired best with 571 votes in Droylsden West. In Audenshaw, Peter Harris polled 561 votes – finishing last out of three candidates.

Of the borough’s three independent candidates, Dean Aylett polled the highest: 736 in the Mossley ward behind Taf Sharif (the sitting Labour councillor). Nevertheless, Dean was also one of four members elected in Mossley Town Council’s Cheshire ward: 769 votes.

Coming off worst in the Battle of the Daves was former Stalybridge Town Party candidate Dave Tate. Standing as an independent he polled 153 votes – behind the Green Party and the Conservative Party candidates. Jennifer Brayne – previously of the Stalybridge Town Party – polled 206 votes in the Stalybridge South ward.

Standing for the first time in Tameside was the Democrats and Veterans’ Party. Its one and only candidate Graham Doherty polled 236 votes in the Longdendale ward. In Denton South, the Monster Raving Loony Party’s F’tang F’tang Farming Lord Dave polled 181 votes. A revival?

* * *

Wards contested, by party:

  • Labour (including Labour Co-op): 19;
  • The Green Party of England and Wales: 18;
  • Conservative Party: 19;
  • United Kingdom Independence Party: 5;
  • Stalybridge Town Party: 2;
  • Independent candidates: 3;
  • Liberal Democrats: 5;
  • Democrats and Veterans’ Party: 1;
  • The Official Monster Raving Loony Party: 1.


* Denotes sitting candidate.

Ashton Hurst

  • Mike Glover*, Labour Party: 1,064 (43%);
  • Therese Costello, Conservative Party: 942 (38%);
  • Lorraine Whitehead, Green Party: 472 (19%).

Turnout: 27.8%

Electorate: 8,915

Rejected ballot papers: 35

Ashton St. Michael’s

  • Yvonne Cartey*, Labour Party: 1,091 (56%);
  • Philip Blakeney, Green Party: 451 (23%);
  • Karen Brooks, Conservative Party: 407 (21%).

Turnout: 21.7%

Electorate: 8,994

Rejected ballot papers: 46

Ashton Waterloo

Green Gain from Labour.

  • Lee Huntbach, Green Party: 1,075 (46%);
  • Jean Drennan, Labour Party: 935 (40%);
  • Irene Marsh, Conservative Party: 350 (15%).

Turnout: 26.9%

Electorate: 8,771

Rejected ballot papers: 21


  • Charlotte Martin, Labour Party: 1,221 (47%);
  • Danny Mather, Conservative Party: 798 (31%);
  • Peter Harris, United Kingdom Independence Party: 561 (22%).

Turnout: 26.7%

Electorate: 9,654

Rejected ballot papers: 36

Denton North East

  • Alison Gwynne*, Labour Party: 1,064 (54%);
  • Dawn Lesley Cobb, Conservative Party: 554 (28%);
  • Benjamin Hart, Green Party: 360 (18%).

Turnout: 22.9%

Electorate: 8,616

Rejected ballot papers: 63

Denton South

  • Jack Naylor, Labour Party: 1,433 (66%);
  • Aimee Lumley, Conservative Party: 380 (18%);
  • F’Tang F’Tang Farming Lord Dave, The Official Monster Raving Loony Party: 181 (8%);
  • Jean Smee, Green Party: 174 (8%).

Turnout: 25.7%

Electorate: 8,428

Rejected ballot papers: 29

Denton West

  • Brenda Warrington*, Labour Party: 1,440 (59%);
  • Thomas Dunne, Conservative Party: 550 (22%);
  • Daniel Spence, Green Party: 462 (19%).

Turnout: 25.8%

Electorate: 9,505

Rejected ballot papers: 57

Droylsden East

  • Laura Boyle*, Labour Party: 1,001 (47%);
  • Matthew Stevenson, Conservative Party: 605 (29%);
  • Hannah Smee, Green Party: 514 (24%).

Turnout: 23.1%

Electorate: 9,189

Rejected ballot papers: 71

Droylsden West

  • Ann Holland*, Labour Party: 1,061 (45%);
  • Maurice Jackson, United Kingdom Independence Party: 570 (24%);
  • Annie Train, Green Party: 432 (18%);
  • Dot Buckley, Conservative Party 277 (12%).

Turnout: 25.8%

Electorate: 9,052

Rejected ballot papers: 18


  • John Taylor*, Labour Party: 1,039 (47%);
  • Julie Wood, Green Party: 700 (32%);
  • Lucy Turner, Conservative Party: 453 (21%).

Turnout: 23.1%

Electorate: 9,486

Rejected ballot papers: 54

Dukinfield Stalybridge

  • David Sweeton*, Labour Party: 920 (38%);
  • Dave McGovern, Stalybridge Town Party: 680 (28%);
  • Les Browning, Conservative Party: 388 (16%);
  • Linda Freeman, Green Party: 251 (10%);
  • Dave Tate, Independent: 153 (6%).

Turnout: 27%

Electorate: 8,844

Rejected ballot papers: 20

Hyde Godley

  • Betty Affleck*, Labour Party: 1,004 (42%);
  • Andrea Colbourne, Conservative Party: 720 (30%);
  • Dawn Sheridan, United Kingdom Independence Party: 335 (14%);
  • Keith Whitehead, Green Party: 193 (8%);
  • Alice Mason-Power, Liberal Democrats: 115 (5%).

Turnout: 25.5%

Electorate: 9,286

Rejected ballot papers: 21

Hyde Newton

  • Helen Bowden*, Labour Party: 1,147 (49%);
  • Michael Gibbins, Conservative Party: 547 (23%);
  • Michael Baker, Green Party: 425 (18%);
  • Peter Ball-Foster, Liberal Democrats: 245 (10%).

Turnout: 22.1%

Electorate: 10,692

Rejected ballot papers: 58

Hyde Werneth

Labour Gain from Conservatives.

  • Shibley Alam, Labour Party: 1,473 (42%);
  • Paul Molloy, Conservative Party: 1,468 (42%);
  • Ian Robinson, Green Party: 322 (9%);
  • Richard O’Brien, Liberal Democrats: 206 (6%).

Turnout: 38.3%

Electorate: 9,052

Rejected ballot papers: 35


  • Jacqueline Owen, Labour Party: 840 (41%);
  • Ben Frost, Conservative Party: 498 (24%);
  • Irene Brierley, Green Party: 321 (16%);
  • Graham Doherty, Democrats and Veterans’ Party: 236 (12%);
  • Lynn Thompson, Liberal Democrats: 140 (7%).

Turnout: 25.6%

Electorate: 7,932

Rejected ballot papers: 30


  • Taf Sharif*, Labour Party: 1,115 (44%);
  • Dean Aylett, Independent: 736 (29%);
  • Christine Clark, Green Party: 374 (15%);
  • Daniel Percival, Conservative Party: 296 (12%).

Turnout: 28.1%

Electorate: 8,972

Rejected ballot papers: 21

St. Peters

  • David McNally*, Labour Party: 1,505 (68%);
  • Trevor Clarke, Green Party: 414 (19%).
  • Matt Allen, Conservative Party: 287 (13%).

Turnout: 23.1%

Electorate: 9,552

Rejected ballot papers: 36

Stalybridge North

  • Adrian Pearce*, Labour Party: 759 (32%);
  • Lee Stafford, Stalybridge Town Party: 684 (29%);
  • David Tilbrook, Conservative Party: 541 (23%);
  • Josh Hughes, United Kingdom Independence Party: 250 (11%);
  • David Fernley, Green Party: 145 (6%).

Turnout: 25%

Electorate: 9,528

Rejected ballot papers: 16

Stalybridge South

  • Clive Patrick*, Conservative Party: 1,203 (45%);
  • Hugh Roderick, Labour Party: 698 (26%);
  • Amanda Hickling, Green Party: 279 (11%);
  • Kerri Luke, United Kingdom Independence Party: 260 (10%);
  • Jennifer Brayne, Independent: 206 (8%).

Turnout: 30.2%

Electorate: 8,770

Rejected ballot papers: 10

Total votes:

  • Labour (including Labour Co-op): 20,810 (46.2%);
  • Conservative Party: 11,264 (25%);
  • The Green Party of England and Wales: 7,364 (16.4%);
  • United Kingdom Independence Party: 1,977 (4.4%);
  • Stalybridge Town Party: 1,364 (3%);
  • Independent candidates: 1,095 (2.4%);
  • Liberal Democrats: 706 (1.6%);
  • Democrats and Veterans’ Party: 236 (0.5%);
  • The Official Monster Raving Loony Party: 181 (0.4%).

Total Number of Votes (all candidates): 44,997

Total Electorate: 173,238

Total Turnout: 26%

Spoiled ballot papers: 677

* * *

Turnout traumas?

Even with the option of independent candidates, the Stalybridge Town Party and UKIP, turnout in Tameside was 26%. This was down on 28% last year.

Compared with last year’s local elections, there was a dramatic increase in the number of spoiled ballot papers. 677 compared with 138 – almost a fivefold increase. At the count, Dukinfield councillor John Taylor said he saw the highest number of spoiled ballot papers for forty years.

The highest numbers of spoiled ballot papers were recorded in wards where neither an independent nor a UKIP candidate was standing. That, alongside the success of independent and hyper-local parties, reflected the narrative of England’s local elections.

Throughout England, most of the spoiled ballot papers have had ‘none of the above’ or ‘deliver Brexit now’ type messages. Was this the case in Tameside?

It can be argued that lack of control is behind low turnouts in local elections. The amount of facilities directly run by our local authorities has decimated thanks to forty years of policies that have favoured privatisation, contracting out and cutbacks. With fewer services to run, vox populi chooses to stay at home as their local authority’s mandate is weakened.

Some of them may choose to blame the councils for cuts to their local services. In reality, it is central government cutting local government grant support. The real perpetrators are let off the hook. Local authorities are forced to centralise or make cuts to statutory services like public libraries.

Hence also the popularity of hyper-local parties like Kearsley First. In this borough, Stalybridge Town Party was only 76 votes away from winning a seat in the Stalybridge North ward.

The Brexit effect may have been reflected in Tameside’s spoiled ballot papers instead of a rise in the UKIP vote. Ultimately, it was the bins and public services which held sway. This was a factor in Ashton Waterloo.

In Ashton Waterloo, where Lee Huntbach became Tameside’s first Green Party councillor, bins and buses could have won the day. The Ashton Waterloo ward, as with the Droylsden wards, may have been swayed by the withdrawal of the 168 and 169 services. In the three wards, their links with South Manchester were severed. On asking residents in the Ashton Waterloo ward, Mr Huntbach said that “potholes, fly-tipping and drugs” topped their concerns.

With only a microcosm of the national trends, Tameside got off lightly. Like neighbouring Oldham and Rochdale boroughs, and Manchester City Council, a rare oasis. For Labour, there is no room for complacency. Especially in Stalybridge where the Stalybridge Town Party has dented the votes of Labour and Conservative parties.

Whereas the turnout in Tameside’s local elections was 26%, the Mossley Town Council Parish Elections had a turnout of 58% in the Cheshire Ward. Why the difference in turnout? The people of Mossley’s Cheshire Ward had something tangible to vote for.

* * *

Mossley Town Council Elections

Cheshire Ward

  • Dean Aylett, Independent: 769 (28%);
  • Idu Miah, Labour Party: 684 (25%);
  • Frank Travis, Labour Party: 456 (16%);
  • Pat Mullin, Labour Party: 444 (16%);
  • Lynn Travis, Labour Party: 420 (15%).

Dean Aylett, Idu Miah, Frank Travis, and Pat Mullin elected.

Turnout: 58%

Electorate: 4,780

Rejected ballot papers: 11

Lancashire Ward

No contest: Homer Anthony, Jack Homer, and Maggie Thomas elected unopposed as Labour parish councillors.

Yorkshire Ward

No contest: Ruth Kerfoot and Stimson Martin elected unopposed as Labour parish councillors.

S.V., 03 May 2019.

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