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And it seems not a moment too soon Jun 16

So Labour’s quarter of a century dominating Leeds is over. Labour took 40 seats, LibDems 26, Conservatives 24, Morley Borough Independents 6, and Greens 3. No one party has a majority, but the LibDems could feasibly run in coalition with the Conservatives and the Greens (and Labour, if they’d be prepared to swallow their pride). In Wetherby, I got 1,026 votes – I’m pleased to say it’s a personal best in any election, and represented a 1.1% swing from the Tories to the LibDems.

The first past the post electoral system for once worked in the LibDems’ favour. It hindered the Tories but still let Labour get 40% of the seats on much less of the vote. I still believe strongly in following the example of Scotland and introducing STV for local council elections.

There were some curious other results, particularly in the way tickets were split and voters mixed and matched the parties for which they voted. While I can’t pretend to know every voters’ reasons, it’s possible to spot trends. In one ward, for example, where one Tory candidate polled noticeably less than his colleagues, it is, sadly, safe to assume that his Arabic-sounding name put off a few hundred voters.

In Headingley, a former Labour seat (albeit after boundary changes), Labour fell below the Greens. The LibDems made more progress in Kirkstall, but Labour, running scared and making an effort for once, managed to hold on. My friend Kath, the only local council candidate in Leeds standing for “Respect – The Unity Coalition (George Galloway)”, succeeded in pushing the Tories into fourth in her ward.

Congratulations to everyone who was elected last week. Particular mentions go to Penny Ewens, who stormed home in Hyde Park and Woodhouse, and No geek is an island reader David Morton who topped the poll in Headingley.

Full results by ward are on the Leeds City Council website.

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