DUDLEY COUNCIL: Council’s Tory leader vows to build on success
The Tories gained 12 seats from Labour, as well as successfully defending 11 of their own that were up for grabs, to take overall control of the local authority.
It means they now hold 46 of the 72 Dudley Council seats while Labour have 24 along with two independents.
Councillor Harley put the victory down to the work they were doing locally, particularly in regeneration of the borough, as well as the popularity of Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Labour’s disappointed group leader Qadar Zada said they would reflect and learn the lessons from the devastating defeat.
Councillor Harley said: “I’m just absolutely thrilled. All the hard work the team have put in over the last two years has paid off. We saw with Adam Davies in Brierley Hill who lost by 25 and won by a huge majority now.
“We are absolutely thrilled with what the team has done. It has been a great team effort.
“We’ve got a good story to sell locally with our regeneration agenda and the investment in front-line services.
“With the national picture, Boris is clearly being a very popular prime minister that the public really do like. It has been a brilliant combination and has resulted in the best ever results for the Dudley Conservative group.
“These are thumping majorities we can work on and we can make Conservative councillors in some of these wards a permanent fixture.
“Over the next 12 months we will be looking to emphasise our regeneration proposals and build up the borough to make it a better place to live.
“We need to draw up a conclusion to the Black Country plan and give a clear signal that the green belt is safe under the Conservatives.
“And we need to make sure we invest a lot more in road infrastructure and road maintenance so that in 12 months time people can see a clear difference between ourselves and any other party.”
Councillor Zada said he and his party were disappointed with the results but said they would pick themselves back up and rebuild.
He said: “The candidates are really gutted because they spent so much time out in their patch, working, supporting the people and of course they are going to be disappointed.
“But this isn’t a reflection on Dudley. What we are seeing is this replicated across the whole country.
“What we need to do is listen and learn. We will reflect deep and we will learn the lessons from this.
“We need to spend our time now analysing the results, understanding what the public have told us and how we can rebuild their trust and work with them.
“What we won’t do is spend the next 12 months finger pointing but actually being out and about in our communities, being visible and doing what they expect.”
Words: Gurdip Thandi, Local Democracy Reporter
Watch the channel on TV