“TO BE perfectly honest, after all the shock-horror stories going on nationally, it could have been a lot worse” – that was the verdict on the local elections from Solihull MBC Leader Councillor Ian Courts after seeing his majority cut by two.
And with the Tories being pushed hard in previously ‘safe’ wards like Meriden where HS2 figured large, he pledged his party would not be complacent as it steered the course ahead.
“Going around the borough a lot of people were telling me that they like what we’re doing in Solihull, and then they’d say ‘as for what’s happening nationally’ . . .” said Coun Courts.
“These are mid-term election, it’s usual for people to protest, but we must certainly not be complacent.”
However this was a day of celebration for both the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party, the former winning two seats in Lyndon and Olton from the Conservatives and the latter taking Shirley West and Kingshurst & Fordbridge, again from the Conservatives.
The Tories meanwhile gained Castle Bromwich from the Greens.
Green Party group leader Councillor Steve Caudwell, as well as celebrating the victories, was also quietly pleased at how his party had pushed the Conservatives in Meriden.
“The challenge for the current administration is to demonstrate that they are holding HS2 Ltd to account and I feel there are a lot of residents out there who believe they are not doing that,” he said.
“We are trying to bring residents’ views to the forefront so that they are fairly heard rather than it being a Tory government plan waved through by a Tory council, and this goes right up to the MP too, Saqib Bhatti.
“Throughout we ran a positive campaign about the difference the Greens can make and although not all the results are in yet from across the country, it would appear that it’s a message that is resonating with people.”
The day also saw the return of Lib Dem Councillor Ade Adeyamo in Lyndon ward and he said the results, which boosted his party’s representation to five at the Council House, put them on a firm footing to build for the future.
“You know its truism that Lib Dems work harder on the ground than any other party and that hard work paid off in our target seats.
“These results give us the platform to push for greater representation on the council.
“We’ve got the cost of living crisis, bills are going up and people need the Liberal Democrats to be their champions and make their concerns known and that’s exactly what we do.
“We will make sure their views and their voices are heard loud and clear and the work starts from here.”
The new make up of Solihull Council is now:
Conservatives: 28 councillors
Green: 14 councillors
Liberal Democrats: 5 councillors
Independent: 4 councillors.
The turnout was 33 per cent (a decrease from 38 per cent in 2021)
The highest voter turnout: St. Alphege – 41.21 per cent
The lowest voter turnout: Chelmsley Wood – 17.94 per cent