Phil Riley is election agent to Jack Straw
At around 4am, after a slow but meticulous count, the General Election result was announced in Blackburn and, to the surprise of the candidate (but not, I’m pleased to say, to me) Jack Straw’s majority had increased from 8,009 in 2005 to 9,856 – a swing of 1.1% to Labour! A fantastic result, given everything that was happening elsewhere, and a reflection of how well Jack is regarded by the people of Blackburn. It also reflected a tremendous campaign by the Blackburn Labour Party and the hundreds of volunteers who have worked consistently for the last few weeks and, in particular on election day, to make sure that Labour’s message was heard above the noise from the other candidates.
At 5pm on Friday afternoon, at the end of the local election count, cheers were again ringing out in King George’s Hall as Labour had gained 3 seats from the Liberal Democrats to move to within one seat of regaining control of Blackburn with Darwen Council. The three gains – in Shear Brow, Bastwell and Audley – again reflected the strength and energy of Labour’s campaign but there were also tremendous results in Corporation Park in Blackburn, Sudell and Sunnyhurst in Darwen. These results leave the Labour Party with 31 seats on the Council with 33 seats for the combined Tory, Liberal and For Darwen opposition. True to the responses of this discredited coalition, the immediate instincts of the Tory leader of the coalition were to ignore the overwhelming desire of the people of Blackburn for a Labour administration and to stagger on until they are put out of their misery when Labour makes its next gain at some future date. This is profoundly anti-democratic but completely in keeping with recent behaviour.
- Labour Party – 31 seats (+3 gains in Audley, Bastwell, Shear Brow)
- Conservative Party – 19 seats (no change)
- Liberal Dem0crats – 9 seats (-2 losses in Audley and Bastwell)
- For Darwen Party – 5 seats (no change)
- Independents – 0 seats (-1 loss in Shear Brow)