Council leader warns against complacency

DESPITE holding onto a massive majority, Wakefield Council leader Peter Box has warned against complacency.

Labour lost another three seats this year, two to the Conservatives and one to the Liberal Democrats, who now have three councillors.

Speaking at the town hall last night after the final results were announced, Coun Box said: "I'm disappointed with the losses but I think perhaps it has something to do with the fact that these are mid-term elections and the key issues many people tended to vote on were national issues rather than local issues."

He added that the issue of asylum seekers had allowed the far right British National Party to capitalise on a controversial national issue at a local level.

The BNP candidate in Ossett managed to win 784 votes, and in Horbury their candidate won 629 votes.

Coun Box added: "There are lessons to be learned from tonight's results and we are not complacent in any way. Next year every seat is up for re-election

and it will be interesting to see how the picture changes then."

Because of ward boundary changes, every councillor elected tonight will have to stand for re-election again next May along with all the other councillors

in each of the district's 21 wards.

Conservative Coun David Hopkins said: "The two seats we have won this time are great news for Conservatives in Wakefield. It strenghtens the party

and although it is hard to predict what will happen in next year's election because it is an unusual one, we have to be optimistic that we can hold on

to these seats and build on our success."