Winners together: Ilyas Raja and Anneliese Dodds campaigning together in Woking at the start of the election campaign.
Massive congratulations to everyone for the Maybury & Sheerwater result in the polls, a fine victory. We finally have a foothold! Ten years of frustrated attempts to win council seats battling against electoral fraud, and seven years without any Labour representation at all, have come to an end in Woking.
Mohammed Ilyas Raja stormed home to win Maybury and Sheerwater. With 1208 votes, he comfortably beat the 955 achieved by his nearest rival, Tory Nadeem Ali Zaffar, and notched up nearly five times the 255 votes cast in favour of the LibDem candidate. UKIP came third with 428. The turnout was over 41%, well above the average for the borough, and the result ends the centre-right monopoly in the council.
Ilyas has an ambitious programme as a councillor, but has the ability to carry it out and eight years' previous experience as a councillor to draw on. Among other aims, he intends to campaign for a living wage; to ensure that Sheerwater residents get their say in the Regeneration Scheme; to call the Council to account for failing to ensure developers build 50% affordable homes within mixed developments; and to fight excessive rents and force landlords to give tenancy contracts. You can read or download the election leaflets we delivered to every house here.
The balance on the council is now: Tories 23; LibDems 11; Labour 1; Ind 1.
Ilyas and election agent Liz Evans (centre) with some of the Labour team after the count.
In Maybury and Sheerwater we have come from 3rd place with 11% of the vote in 2010 to 1st place with 43%, a staggering leap forwards. Well done, Paul (Brown), for increasing the vote in Goldsworth East, which the Lib Dems lost to the Tories. Compared with 2010, when these seats were last fought, we have pretty much doubled our share of votes across the borough (2010 was the nadir, a general election year where we suffered heavy losses).
We are still lying third, just above UKIP, who have done well – had they stood a candidate in Horsell West they would have beaten us. The Tories were down very slightly, the Lib Dems down significantly and behind UKIP in nearly all of the 12 wards. Where are they picking up votes?
In the Euro elections, Labour candidate Anneliese Dodds won a seat as a South-East England MEP, inheriting the legacy of former Labour MEP Peter Skinner, who has stood down after 20 years in the European Parliament. However, the loss of our very strong Labour candidate John Howarth was a great disappointment, and was due to the election of four UKIP MEPs.