Welwyn Hatfield is finally free from decades of Conservative rule as the LibDems gain four seats, in Panshanger (Jane Quinton), Sherrards (Frank Marsh), Handside (Anthony Dennis), and Peartree (Jayne Ranshaw) as well as successfully defending Welham Green and Hatfield South (Jaida Caliskan). The Council is now made up of 23 Conservatives, 13 Labour and 12 LibDem councillors.
In Handside Ward, Anthony Dennis scored the biggest vote of the night – with 1488 votes, and a majority of 821, in a ward were three years ago it went to three re-counts.
They also came within 31 votes of a seat in Hatfield East and won three seats on Hatfield Town Council where they now hold the balance of power – both Tory and Labour parties have six each.
LibDem group leader Cllr Malcolm Cowan said:
“This is a phenomenal statement of support for our local LibDem teams, and a clear vote in favour of hard working LibDem councillors and campaigners in areas where we have won in the past two years. The teams we have working between Borough and County councillors in the divisions of Haldens, Handside & Peartree and South Hatfield are really achieving for their residents.
“In contrast both Conservatives and Labour are being punished for years of complacency. The Conservatives may have been punished over Brexit, but more important on the doorstep was their failure to listen – on the Local Plan, and Panshanger airfield in particular, and on the future of Gosling Sports Park.”
Local party chair Cllr Helen Quenet added: “The result was almost as bad for Labour as the Conservatives – within the constituency of Welwyn Hatfield we polled 33.3% of the vote, to Labour’s 24.9%, and they lost two seats overall. Once again, just like last year and the year before, voters showed that the party they trust to replace the Tories is the Liberal Democrats.”