Voters choose the status quo but opposition shake-up lies ahead

Labour supporters including Jackie Longley celebrate as mor Councillors are returned forllowing the local elections'Picture Dean Atkins
Labour supporters including Jackie Longley celebrate as mor Councillors are returned forllowing the local elections'Picture Dean Atkins

The Labour Party has maintained its grip on power in Sheffield by keeping its majority in the local elections - but change is afoot among the city’s Liberal Democrats.

The Sheffield Lib Dem group’s leader, Coun Colin Ross, stood down after two years this week, citing ‘personal reasons’ for his decision.

His party made some gains at the polls, leading members to point to the ‘green shoots’ of a political comeback.

The Lib Dems took two Labour seats in the Beauchief and Greenhill ward, while former council leader and peer Lord Paul Scriven secured a return to local politics by being elected as a councillor in the Ecclesall ward.

A new Lib Dem leader, deputy and shadow cabinet members will be elected at the group’s AGM on Monday.

Coun Ross will remain a ward councillor for Dore and Totley. He said he set himself the task of handing over the reins ‘as soon as the fortunes of the Liberal Democrats turn’.

“I am pleased to see that happened last week and the Liberal Democrat fightback in Sheffield is very much alive.

“I now want to hand the baton on to a new leader who will take a more long-term view in continuing the fightback here in Sheffield.”

He said he would be spending more time on himself, his family and friends, and being a ‘dedicated backbench councillor’.

Sheffield Hallam MP Nick Clegg said he thought Coun Ross had done an ‘excellent job’. “No other councillor elected in the all-out elections received as many votes as Colin,” he pointed out.

Meanwhile, the council’s Labour leader Julie Dore, and her deputy Leigh Bramall, were re-elected to their respective positions unopposed by their party.

Last week Labour and the Green Party traded a seat each in Broomhill and Sharrow Vale, and Nether Edge and Sharrow.

Coun Dore - re-elected in the Park and Arbourthorne ward - said it was a ‘resounding’ success for her party.

She added: “We have got extremely difficult times ahead. But we have shown and demonstrated that we can protect and support communities. At the same time we have demonstrated we are ambitious.”

Coun Scriven said the party’s gains - its share of the vote was up by more than 4.5 per cent - sent a clear message to Labour.

“They have got to take a stop check on this and think very seriously about changing what they are doing and stop steamrollering communities who are being told what’s going to happen to them.”

The Green Party’s Brian Webster lost his seat to Labour in the Broomhill and Sharrow Vale ward - but the Greens’ Alison Teal won a seat back from Labour in the Nether Edge and Sharrow ward, following a recount.

Ukip held onto their four seats and could have won two more.

The count in West Ecclesfield was so close that a tie-breaker vote was all that separated Labour’s Zoe Sykes, in third place, from Ukip’s David Ogle in fourth. And in the Stocksbridge and Upper Don ward, Ukip’s third candidate there, Graeme Waddicar, lost to Labour’s Richard Crowther by three votes.