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Shattered Jun 16

I’ve been back in Leeds a few days but I’m still exhausted – hence the lack of posting. Had a great time in the London. Worked for two days solid on the elections, then acted as a counting agent at the Bexley & Bromley GLA count. It was interesting seeing the automated counting machines in operation. They work incredibly fast, and have the benefit over full electronic voting that there is always the possiblity of a manual count if things go wrong or a result is disputed. A good result for the LibDems: Duncan Borrowman moved up from third to second, while Labour dropped to forth. Plus, we contributed a significant chunk of votes to Simon Hughes’s mayoral total. Overall, we managed to pick up an extra GLA seat, which both the Tory and Labour GLA groups lost their leaders.

While at the count in London, I got word that Labour had lost control of Leeds. I didn’t get to see the figures until Sunday – more on them to follow.

Friday night was Liberty Night, a top notch party to celebrate the end of the elections. I met Charles Kennedy for the first time, he having returned from a flying visit to our new headline gain of Newcastle. He was in fine form and made a very positive speech. I also had the chance to commiserate Simon, who seemed in fine form despite having worked incredibly long days in the run up to the election.

Spent most of Saturday recovering, then popped over to Ealing for a very nice barbecue before going out in London. Then on Sunday back to Leeds and almost straight out again for the European Parliament election count for Yorkshire & the Humber – carried out by hand, the old-fashioned way. As the Leeds ballot papers were counted, results trickled in from across the region, flashed up on big screens. The candidates, agents and assorted psephs dashed forward to see who had won where, and to try to predict the overall result. We correctly worked out that it would be two Conservative, two Labour, one LibDem, one swivel-eyed loon. Diana Wallis was re-elected, moving from fifth place out of seven to third of sixth – a good result for us. The English Democrats candidate, in his speech, derided the proposed regional assemblies as “another layer of bureaucracy” – an interesting argument from a party who’s principal policy is an English Parliament.

The best news of the night was the election of Fiona Hall in the North East and (as I discovered on Monday morning) the election of Saj Karim in the North West, taking us to 12 MEPs. While UKIP squeezed into third place on the popular vote, third was mainly at the expensive of the Tories and Labour. Fingers crossed for UKIP standing in some Con/LD marginals at the next General Election.

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