The council elections in Sefton were quite remarkable as Sefton Council has had no party in overall control since 1986. That has all changed with Labour gaining four seats from the Liberal Democrats and three from the Conservatives in Sefton Central and a further seat from the Liberal Democrats in Victoria Ward in the Bootle Constituency.
Congratulations to the eight newly elected Labour councillors.
Labour now has 36 of the 66 councillors in Sefton and will now have the tough task of running the council in the face of yet more cuts in the grant from the Tory-Lib Dem government.
I say that the result is remarkable because Labour won three seats which it had never won before. Harington in Formby was won by just eight votes from the Conservatives. In Blundellsands, Ravenmeols and in Park Ward in East Sefton, Labour won convincingly. Yet few would have predicted such results a year or so ago. As recently as 2008, Labour lost all seven seats in Sefton Central, all by large margins. It is amazing how quickly things can change in politics.
The local election campaign was hard fought by all the parties. Many claims and counter claims were made and it is right that candidates for election should say what they have done and give their view on what their opponents have done. Pointing out what your opponents policies are and their impact is one thing. Making deeply personal attacks is rather different.
I heard many people tell me how much they disliked the personal attacks that some candidates made during the election. I suspect that personal attacks are counter productive. Maybe the results this year will cause some of the unsuccessful candidates to reconsider their approach.
People often tell me that they would like politicians to work together. I work with people of many different political opinions for the good of the communities which I represent. However, there are some politicians who make it impossible to work together. To work with other politicians, you need trust and it can be very hard to trust someone who has spent months delivering leaflets to residents with stories about your personal life and about your family, which are not true.
I look forward to working with the new Labour Councillors in Sefton Central and to supporting people across Formby, Crosby, Maghull, Lydiate, Aintree and Melling. The Labour Action Teams will be out and about all year round and will continue the work we have been doing with residents, with community groups and with parish and town councillors around the constituency.
I will be holding regular surgeries in each part of Sefton Central and will be arranging public meetings and drop in sessions to discuss the many issues, which people have raised recently.
The protection of our green space was a key issue during the elections and I will continue to fight the developers who are trying to use new rules brought in by the Tory-Lib Dem government which make it much easier for developers to build in the countryside and on green space in our towns and villages. I will also be asking for views on the changes being made to our NHS and the effect of the government cuts on services.