The political landscape in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire has changed dramatically for another four years after eight councils concluded their elections.
Seven district and borough councils as well as Nottingham City Council all went before the electorate to decide their new administrations until 2027.
The election, on May 4, marked a strong day for the Labour Party both locally and nationally, with Sir Keir Starmer’s party retaining or securing control of five councils in our area.
Bassetlaw, Broxtowe, Gedling, Mansfield and Nottingham all returned healthy Labour majorities in a day that saw the party win the most councils and seats nationally.
The day marked one to forget for Rishi Sunak and the Conservative Party after 957 councillors were unseated across the country.
The governing party went on to lose control of 48 councils nationally, including in Newark and Sherwood, when several high-profile councillors lost their seats.
The Conservatives also saw their majority reduced in Rushcliffe but managed to maintain control of the council despite a Labour surge.
Elsewhere in Nottinghamshire, the Ashfield Independents managed to buck a national trend and increase their majority on Ashfield District Council.
Both Labour and the Tories lost seats on the council despite increasing their vote share amidst an Ashfield Independent slump in votes.
But exactly how do last week’s election results affect the political balance of each council?
Nottingham City Council
The Labour Group in Nottingham managed to increase its hold on the city council despite four years of financial turmoil and scrutiny.
The group increased its seats by one compared with 2019 to return 51 seats after the Tories were wiped out in the city for the first time in history.
It followed the two former Conservative councillors, Andrew Rule and Roger Steele, standing as independents after a row over Mr Steel’s deselection.
Cllr Rule returned his seat in Clifton West as an independent but Mr Steele finished in fourth place, with the remaining seat won by Labour’s Cllr Hayley Spain.
Following the election, he said he will leave his former party to suffer a period of “reflection”, expressing his “huge disappointment” about Mr Steele’s loss.
A senior Tory figure also said the party was the victim of a “national trend” after “not a particularly great night” nationally.
The Nottingham Independents secured all three seats in Clifton East but failed to increase its number in the chamber, despite fielding 28 candidates.
It means the Labour Group managed to increase its grip on the council for a further four years despite a tumultuous year for Cllr David Mellen, the authority’s leader.
Cllr Mellen, who has led the council since 2019, was reselected as the leader shortly after the count concluded on Friday (May 5).
Ashfield District Council
The Ashfield Independents also secured another four years of control at Ashfield District Council with an increase in their majority.
The group secured 32 out of 35 seats, up from 30 in 2019.
Victories included securing nine out of 10 seats in Hucknall despite local concerns over the group’s draft housing plan.
The final Hucknall seat was secured by Cllr Phil Rostance (Con), who won one of three Hucknall West seats.
His victory was one of just two Conservative victories across the district alongside Cllr Dawn Justice, who unseated former deputy leader Cllr David Martin (Ash Ind) in Underwood.
The only other Ashfield Independent loss came in Carsic, where Cllr Cathy Mason (Lab) secured victory – Labour’s only win district-wide.
These results came despite the Ashfield Independents’ vote share falling from 65 per cent in 2019 to 53 per cent in 2023.
Labour’s vote share increased from 18 to 23 per cent in the same period, while the Tories also picked up 20 per cent of votes, compared with 11 per cent four years ago.
The victory means the Ashfield Independents retain control of the authority for a further four years, taking their total control of the council to a minimum of nine years by the end of this term.
Bassetlaw District Council
Labour also managed to increase their majority on Bassetlaw District Council in a rather expected result in north Nottinghamshire.
The Labour Group, led by Cllr James Naish, won a total 38 seats out of 48, up from 37 in 2019.
Cllr Naish, who sits in the Sturton ward and was re-elected, was elected as leader in September to replace the departing Simon Greaves.
However, the Tories bucked a national trend by picking up an additional three seats compared with 2019.
The Conservatives landed eight seats, having made gains from Labour and the Independents – with the latter losing two seats and returning two councillors.
The Liberal Democrats lost the group’s only seat – in East Retford West – to Labour, despite securing it from the group in 2019.
The election result strengthens Labour’s grip on the council for a further four years, with 39 Labour councillors, eight Tories and two independents making up the 48-seat chamber.
Broxtowe Borough Council
Broxtowe Borough Council’s election count saw some of the biggest drama of the day after Labour regained control of the council for the first time since 2003.
The Labour group – led by Cllr Milan Radulovic, won 26 seats out of 44, compared with 14 in 2019.
It followed a rainbow coalition of Labour, the Liberal Democrats and Independents taking over the council in 2019 in a ‘no overall control’ result.
Labour went on to make gains while the Lib Dems and the Conservatives lost seats – with one high-profile Tory losing his seat in dramatic circumstances.
Former Conservative group leader and council leader until 2019, Cllr Richard Jackson, received the same amount of votes in his Toton and Chilwell Meadows ward as fellow Tory Cllr Halimah Khaled.
Both candidates’ names were put into a hat and Cllr Khaled’s name was pulled out, meaning Cllr Jackson – who also sits on the county council – lost his seat.
He was one of nine Conservative losses as the party went on to reduce their seats from 19 to 10 compared with 2019.
The Liberal Democrats also reduced their seats from seven to five, while three independents make up the remainder of the chamber.
Gedling Borough Council
Labour also retained control of Gedling Borough Council despite losing one seat in the May 4 poll.
The group, led by Cllr John Clarke, returned 28 out of 41 seats, down from the 29 it secured four years ago.
This was despite an increase in vote share for the Labour group, which received 52 per cent of overall votes across the borough.
It came as the Tories bucked a national trend by increasing their number of seats from eight to nine compared with 2019.
Tory group leader Cllr Mike Adams was re-elected in his Trent Valley ward alongside Cllr Sam Smith, while the party made two gains in Calverton and lost one seat in the Plains ward.
The Liberal Democrats also now occupy four seats in the chamber, up from two in 2019, while there are now no independents sitting on the council.
Mansfield District Council
The local election in Mansfield marked a strong showing for both the main parties who made gains across the district.
Labour’s Andy Abrahams secured a comfortable victory in the mayoral contest, obtaining almost 10,000 votes, while his party also won overall control of the council.
Labour picked up 25 out of 36 seats on the council to return a majority in the chamber, increasing their councillor number by 10 compared with 2019.
The election also marked a significant drop-off for the former governing Mansfield Independents, who lost control of the council in 2019.
The group, led by Cllr Mick Barton, finished third in the mayoral contest and lost nine council seats to return just four in the chamber.
However, the Conservative Group, led by Cllr Andre Camilleri, made significant gains to become the main opposition to the ruling Labour administration.
Five Tory seats were returned – the best the party has ever done in a Mansfield District Council election – while Cllr Camilleri finished second in the mayoral race.
The remaining seats were returned by longstanding, unaligned independents Cllr June Stendall and Cllr Steve Garner, who both comfortably won in their wards.
The election victory secures a Labour majority on the council for the first time and means 26 seats – including the mayor – are held by the group.
It’s the most seats the party has won since 2011, when the group won 24 seats but lost the mayoral contest to Tony Egginton (Mans Ind).
Newark and Sherwood District Council
The Tories suffered a major defeat in Newark and Sherwood when their leader and deputy were unseated in the same day.
The Conservatives took just 14 of the 39 available seats compared with the 29 in 2019 as their grip on the authority was lost.
Labour and the Independents won 11 seats each while the Liberal Democrats won three seats.
The day marked significant losses for the Tories when former council leader David Lloyd and his former deputy, Cllr Keith Girling, both lost their seats.
Senior former district councillor and current Nottinghamshire County Council deputy leader Bruce Laughton also lost his seat to Labour in Farnsfield.
It meant the council fell into no overall control, with no party obtaining enough seats to command a majority at Castle House.
The authority has confirmed talks are ongoing between the largest parties over a coalition, which could see the Tories bumped into the opposition.
The outcome of these talks is expected to be confirmed at the authority’s annual general meeting on May 23.
Rushcliffe Borough Council
The Conservatives maintained control of Rushcliffe Borough Council despite losing one seat overall in the election.
Of the 44 seats, the Tories won 25 – one fewer than the 26 in 2019 – but their overall majority was reduced after gains by Labour.
It means the Tories secured just two seats more than the 23 needed to hold a majority as Labour increased its share of seats from six to nine.
The Liberal Democrats, however, lost three seats by returning just one – from Cllr Sara Dellar in Musters ward – amidst a surge from the new Rushcliffe Independents party, which won two.
This included Cllr Ted Birch, who won the Cropwell ward seat which was previously held by Conservative Gordon Moore.
An announcement on the authority’s new leader will be made this month after former council leader Simon Robinson stepped down before the election.