Oxford’s political spectrum turned a darker shade of red in today’s city council election results as Labour extended their stranglehold on the council by another two seats.
The council’s Labour contingent took two seats off the Green Party to extend their majority on the council to 27.
Oxford University PhD student Dan Iley-Williamson beat Liberal Democrat candidate Andy McKay to gain the Holywell ward by 168 votes after Green councillor Sam Hollick stepped down.
The Greens were then narrowly defeated in the fight for the Iffley Fields ward after Elise Benjamin was pipped to the post by Labour’s Steve Curran by just 54 votes.
Bob Price, Oxford City Council’s leader (Labour) said after the results: “What this shows to me is that the people of Oxford are not happy with the austerity cuts being made by the Tory Government and that they continue to back us to take Oxford forward.”
The councillor for Hinksey Park paid tribute to newly elected councillors Dan Iley-Williamson and Stephen Curran, praising the duo’s respective campaigns.
He said: “Dan had a difficult ward but he worked very, very hard, notably on social media, to get his message across and the results show how well he did.
“Steve is well known throughout his new ward and he worked very hard to attract votes.”
Cllr Iley-Williamson, 26, who is currently studying politics, said: “I’m thrilled to be elected. It was thought that this was going to be a long shot for Labour so it was quite surprising to win the ward.
Turnout at the elections was up by nearly 10 per cent, with 38 per cent of the electorate turning out across the city to vote yesterday.
The turnout for the same seats in 2012 was at 29.37 per cent.
Oxford’s Green Party leader Craig Simmons held his St. Mary’s Ward seat with a majority of 192 votes over Labour, but said the setback for his party was “disappointing”.
He said: “We have done very well by picking up more votes in each of the wards.
“Unfortunately that hasn’t turned into seats and it’s disappointing that we’ve lost Holywell and Iffley Fields.”
The Liberal Democrats maintained their four seats that were up for election as Andrew Gant and Ruth Wilkinson held Summertown and Headington respectively, and fellow Lib Dems Tom Landell Mills and Angie Goff were elected to hold St Margaret’s and Wolvercote.
Jean Fooks, the Liberal Democrats’ leader on the council, said: “It is very encouraging to maintain our seats and also raise our majorities in several areas.
“We will continue to work very hard to hold Labour to account as the opposition.”
Independent candidate Mick Haines also held his seat in Marston, beating Labour candidate Nick Walker by 314 seats.
Oxford East MP Andrew Smith was on hand to support the council’s Labour contingent, cheering the party’s councillors to victory.
He told the Guardian: “These are very good results for Labour and show the hard work that they have been doing all year round serving the community.
“I always hope for the best and I’m delighted that Oxford has once again put its faith in Labour.”
Full list of today’s winners:
Barton and Sandhills: Mike Rowley (Labour) – won 49.7 per cent of the vote
Blackbird Leys: Linda Smith (Labour) – won 73 per cent of the vote
Carfax: Alex Hollingsworth (Labour) – won 42 per cent of the vote
Churchill: Mark Lygo (Labour) – won 67.9 per cent of the vote
Cowley: David Henwood (Labour) – won 55.9 per cent of the vote
Cowley Marsh: Sajjad Malik (Labour) – won 54.7 per cent of the vote
Headington: Ruth Wilkinson (Liberal Democrats) – won 59.6 per cent of the vote
Headington Hill & Northway: Nigel Chapman (Labour) – won 51.7 per cent of the vote
Hinksey Park: Marie Tidball (Labour) – won 67.5 per cent of the vote
Holywell: Dan Iley-Williamson (Labour) – won 40.8 per cent of the vote
Iffley Fields: Stephen Curran (Labour) – won 47.5 per cent of the vote
Jericho & Osney: Colin Cook (Labour) – won 52.5 per cent of the vote
Littlemore: John Tanner (Labour) – won 59.5 per cent of the vote
Lye Valley: Pat Kennedy (Labour) – won 65.1 per cent of the vote
Marston: Mick Haines (Independent) – won 48.9 per cent of the vote
North: James Fry (Labour) – won 51.2 per cent of the vote
Northfield Brook: Sian Taylor (Labour) – won 70 per cent of the vote
Quarry & Risinghurst: Chewe Munkonge (Labour) – won 44.6 per cent of the vote
Rose Hill & Iffley: Ed Turner (Labour) – won 69.3 per cent of the vote
St Clement’s: Jamila Azad (Labour) – won 50.2 per cent of the vote
St Margaret’s: Tom Landell Mills (Liberal Democrats) – won 37.8 per cent of the vote
St Mary’s: Craig Simmons (Green) – won 52.1 per cent of the vote
Summertown: Andrew Grant (Liberal Democrats) – won 44.4 per cent of the vote
Wolvercote: Angie Goff (Liberal Democrats) – won 45.1 per cent of the vote