Mayor considers new cabinet as Lib Dems take lead

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Bedford Borough political makeup 2019
Bedford Borough political makeup 2019. Graphic Credit: Paulwmk [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]

Mayor Dave Hodgson is likely to wait until next week to announce his new cabinet, an insider at Bedford Borough Council has revealed to the Bedford Independent.

He’s currently speaking to councillors to help form his decisions, but he will most likely be looking for the best way to take advantage of the five seat lead the Lib Dems now have over Labour and the Conservatives.

That being said, as no party has overall control, he may still look to create some cross-party alliances, and with particular focus on the environment at the moment he may look to form a strong working relationship with Bedford’s two new Green councillors.

Read: New climate change committee for Bedford Borough

Previously Lib Dems were third place with just 10 seats, including the mayor. Conservatives were at 15 and Labour at 14 with two independents.

After last week’s election, Bedford Borough council’s political makeup is now:

  • Liberal Democrat: 16 (including elected mayor)
  • Labour: 11
  • Conservative: 11
  • Green: 2
  • Independent: 1                                        = 40 Councillors + 1 elected mayor

The Conservatives and Labour parties suffered considerable loses to the Lib Dems nationally and that was reflected in Bedford Borough too.

The Lib Dems took advantage of the outgoing independent candidate, Pat Olney, who stepped down from her seat in Oakley. This was picked up by Jon Abbott who had a very comfortable lead against his nearest opponent, Andrew Senior (Con).

In Newnham, a traditionally strong Conservative ward, trouble was expected when Cllr Gianni Carofano stood aside so he could concentrate on his mayoral run.

Newcomer Alison Crook did her very best and joined Conservative veteran John Mingay, but anger over Brexit was too much and people picked the Lib Dems.

Traditionally strong Labour seats, like Goldington Ward and Kingsbrook, also fell to the Lib Dems.

But the Lib Dems weren’t the only ones to benefit. Castle Ward, which has been looked after by the popular Conservative, David Fletcher, who stepped down, and Labour’s Luigi Reale fell to the Greens.

Lucy Bywater and Ben Foley campaigned hard and picked up massive support in the last few weeks.

Castle Ward’s new Green councillors Ben Foley and Lucy Bywater

Speaking at the election count last week (3 May) Gianni Carofano, who was standing as the Conservative mayoral candidate, said: “There are a lot of good Conservative councillors who lost their seats today. There are a lot of very good Labour councillors who lost their seats today.

“I think Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn have a lot to answer for… the national picture has let these guys down.”