BUOYANT Labour tightened their grip on St Helens Town Hall with a show of strength in the local elections last Thursday (May 3).
Despite a disappointing overall turnout of voters across all St Helens wards, Labour picked up five new seats as well as successfully holding every seat they were defending.
The only seats the Red Rose candidates failed to win were Rainford, which the Conservatives held, and Eccleston, which was held by former Mayor Teresa Sims.
In a disastrous night for the local Lib Dems, ex council leader Brian Spencer lost his seat to Labour’s Jimmy Jackson by more than 800 votes.
The party’s local deputy leader, Suzanne Knight, also lost her seat.
Seve Gomez-Aspron collected 1,453 votes in the Newton ward to Knight’s 1,349.
Suzanne Knight had been due to become Mayor next month when Tom Hargreaves relinquishes the 12-month role.
In contrast, Labour made five gains - four from the Lib Dems and one from the Conservatives.
Red Rose candidates took Moss Bank, Newton, Sutton and the Town Centre from the Lib Dems and Windle from the Tories.
Labour also held every seat they were defending - Billinge and Seneley Green, Blackbrook, Bold, Earlestown, Haydock, Parr, Rainhill, Thatto Heath and West Park.
The local Labour party now hold 40 of the borough’s 48 seats, with the Lib Dems holding five and the Tories three.
Council leader Marie Rimmer, whose seat was not up for election this year, described the night as “a landslide”.
She said: “We’ve run a good campaign but I also think people have woken up to how they are being betrayed by the coalition Government.
“Despite the massive cuts we have been faced with, St Helens Council - under Labour - has protected frontline services. And we’re doing our best to protect those in our community who are most vulnerable.”
No one from the Liberal Democrat local group was available for comment following the election results.