Following a sometimes dramatic but ultimately anti-climactic evening at Dunes Leisure Centre on Thursday, not a single Southport Sefton Council seat changed hands.
Each one of the seven Southport seats up for grabs was successfully defended by their respective parties. Labour held their two seats in Kew and Norwood, the Liberal Democrats retained Birkdale and Meols, while the Conservatives held Ainsdale, Cambridge and Dukes.
However local Conservative leader Tony Brough held his Ainsdale seat by just 23 out of 4202 votes, while Mike Morris successfully defended his seat by 25 votes having been kept waiting until nearly 2:30 in the morning in a packed, noisy hall at Dunes Leisure Centre.
The vote for Ainsdale ward was recounted, while the Cambridge vote was recounted twice. In both cases, the margin of victory changed slightly but there was no dispute over the winning party for each count.
In Dukes, Liberal Democrat candidate Jo Barton ran Sir Ron Watson close but fell shy by a 255 vote margin.
Elsewhere in the borough, Councillor Denise Dutton was unseated by her Labour opponent in Formby’s Harington ward.
Labour also managed to reclaim two independent seats, but their seat count has technically reduced to 45 following a number of candidates recently converting to independents.
Labour and Liberal Democrats in the area will likely be quietly pleased with the results, while the Conservatives, who have long hoped to make slow and steady gains in the area, will likely be frustrated at losing the Harington seat and failing to make any gains. While the Liberal Democrats also failed to make gains, this election sits in stark contrast to twelve months ago when four seats were lost.
Thomas De Freitas put up a tough fight in Meols but ultimately came up short in a ward that has been won by the Liberal Democrats in every local election for the last thirty years. Gareth Lloyd-Jones won the seat for the Liberal Democrats following the decision of Cllr Daniel Lewis not to step down.
In Norwood, Labour councillor Mhairi Doyle easily held her seat, with one opposition candidate remarking that weighing her votes instead of counting them may have been more appropriate. Labour’s Laura-Lunn Bates also successfully defended the seat of Cllr Janis Blackburne, who pledged to resign from the Labour party.
Birkdale was successfully defended by Liberal Democrat Iain Brodie Browne, beating his nearest opponent, Labour’s Daniel McKee, by nearly 500 votes, with Lee Durkin of the Conservatives nearly 400 votes behind.