Cambridge City Council Labour group will ‘repay faith’ shown in them
Cambridge City Council Labour group leader Cllr Lewis Herbert has vowed to repay the faith residents have put in the party by “working hard for them”.
Cllr Herbert was speaking after Labour retained control of the city council taking 27 of the 42 seats - one up from 2019.
Against a backdrop of poor results nationally for Labour, the party “got the endorsement of getting a substantial increase in vote” said Cllr Herbert.
He added he was looking forward to the potential of a “rainbow coalition” at Cambridgeshire County Council after Thursday’s election left the authority with no overall control.
“I'm really hopeful that people will get a better service in Cambridge from the county council,” Cllr Herbert said, stating the previous Conservative administration had ignored the city.
“We’re really pleased,” said Cllr Herbert. “We’ve got some great councillors - we’ve done a lot on housing, homelessness, poverty, climate change, so we’re grateful residents and we’ll repay that faith by working hard for them.”
But it wasn’t all success with sitting Labour councillors Nicky Massey and Richard Johnson losing their seats to the Greens in Abbey ward.
Cllr Herbert added: “There’s a lot to do. We’ve tackled rough sleeping during the pandemic and we’ve got much more support for a lot of people who are isolated. We’ve got some tough issues on how much money we’ve got as a council but we've got a great team of people. We're really sorry to lose Richard Johnson and Nicky Massey from the city council but we’ve got some hard working councillors, who will be out there from the end of the weekend.”
Speaking about the two new Green councillors in Abbey ward, Cllr Herbert said: “We have pursued the green agenda. We welcome their challenge and their input.
“We’ve got a greatly weakened Lib Dem opposition, maybe the Greens will provide it.”
He said the Greens had “only tried to win one ward” and the Lib Dems “only tried to win about six wards” but added Labour “tried to win every seat in the city”.
“It’s not unnatural that they [Greens] could pour all their resources into one ward and maybe get some gains,” Cllr Herbert said.
He pointed that Labour was still represented in the ward, adding: “I’ve got no problem with what we’ve done locally.”
He continued: “But I recognise that there is greater green support. And I'm not surprised. And it is important that we all tackle the climate emergency. This planet may not be in a fit state in 10 or 20 years time - it's urgent.”
Cllr Herbert conceded that nationally Labour had fared badly, particularly among traditional Labour voters, which he said was reflected in the result in Abbey ward.
The final tally for Cambridge City Council has Labour with 27 seats, the Lib Dems with 12, the Greens with two and one independent - Sam Davies in Queen Edith’s.
“We’re just proud that despite everything, and after seven years of running the council, that we've got the endorsement of getting a substantial increase in vote and extra seats to both the city and the county,” said Cllr Herbert.
He added: “We are really looking forward to working with a potentially a kind of rainbow coalition on the county council, which will change the dynamic and I hope we'll be partners. I do think the county council has ignored Cambridge.
“And now that we've got that potential. I don't want to ignore Wisbech or Huntingdon or Ely, I think everybody deserves a fair share, but I'm really hopeful that people will get a better service in Cambridge from the county council as well now.”
Of Sam Davies’ win, Cllr Herbert added: “I've known Sam for a long time. I'm sure she'll give us a hard time sometimes - and quite right. She’ll champion her ward. She stormed the ward and was way ahead of all of the other candidates.
“We will get challenged by her, but we look forward to her contribution. If Sam, or the Greens, come up with good ideas - we’ll be the first to listen.”