Wakefield Council elections 2021 roundup: Labour loses seven seats in total as party has majority clipped

Labour lost seven seats in Wakefield at the local elections in a bracing day for the party.

Saturday, 8th May 2021, 2:06 am
Updated Saturday, 8th May 2021, 2:08 am
Socially distanced counting took place at Thornes Park throughout Friday.

Labour still retained its overall control of Wakefield Council, but has seen its majority cut to 11.

They now have 43 of the council's 63 seats, with the Tory opposition's six gains boosting their numbers to 17.

The Conservatives won Ossett, Pontefract South and Wrenthorpe and Outwood West from Labour.

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The Conservatives won Pontefract South from Labour.

They later took big scalps in the Ackworth, North Elmsall and Upton and Crofton, Ryhill and Walton. Both were won by painfully narrow margins after recounts in the early hours of Saturday morning.

The council's Cabinet member for health, Faith Heptinstall, lost her seat in Crofton, Ryhill and Walton.

The Tories had earlier claimed a huge scalp in Wakefield East, which has been safe Labour territory for decades. That was overwhelmingly the shock result of the election.

Labour's only gain was in Airedale and Ferry Fryston, though the party will have been pleased to hold onto Tory target seats such as Horbury and South Ossett and Stanley and Outwood East. They also comfortably held onto wards such as Hemsworth, South Elmsall and South Kirkby and Featherstone.

Wakefield East saw the biggest shock of the day.

Normanton and Altofts and Whitwood, both of which were vacant seats at the time of the election but had been Labour's previously, were also retained by the party.

The Liberal Democrats also took a Labour seat in Knottingley in a repeat of their shock triumph in the town in 2019, though they made little impact in the other six wards they contested.

Reacting to the results, Conservative group leader Nadeem Ahmed said: "Locally we've run a good campaign. All the candidates have worked together well.

"Winning Wakefield East is fantastic. All the gains we've had are fantastic. As I said at the start of the campaign, Labour aren't listening to people and this result shows that.

"I think they'll see we've made inroads in areas they wouldn't have expected us to. It's a worrying sign for them, but a good sign for us."

The results were largely a reflection of the nationwide political picture, with Labour having ceded council seats up and down the country and lost a by-election in the once safe seat of Hartlepool.

The makeup of Wakefield Council is now as follows:

Labour - 43

Conservatives - 17

Liberal Democrats - 2

Independents - 1

Seat results 2021

Ackworth, North Elmsall and Upton - Conservative GAIN from Labour

Airedale and Ferry Fryston - Labour HOLD and GAIN from Independent (two councillors elected)

Altofts and Whitwood - Labour HOLD

Castleford Central and Glasshoughton - Labour HOLD

Crofton, Ryhill and Walton - Conservative GAIN from Labour

Featherstone - Labour HOLD

Hemsworth - Labour HOLD

Horbury and South Ossett - Labour HOLD

Knottingley - Liberal Democrats GAIN from Labour

Normanton - Labour HOLD

Ossett - Conservative GAIN from Labour

Pontefract North - Labour HOLD

Pontefract South - Conservatives GAIN from Labour

South Elmsall and South Kirkby - Labour HOLD

Stanley and Outwood East - Labour HOLD

Wakefield East - Conservative GAIN from Labour

Wakefield North - Labour HOLD

Wakefield West - Labour HOLD

Wakefield South - Conservative HOLD

Wakefield Rural - Conservative HOLD

Wrenthorpe and Outwood West - Conservative GAIN from Labour