LABOUR faced a disappointing time in the polls today (Friday), losing two seats in West Lancashire in the county council elections.
The biggest casualty was long serving Skelmersdale East councillor Bob Pendleton, who lost his seat to Conservative Carolyn Evans.
Labour also lost Ormskirk West, where Francis Williams was standing down, with the Conservative’s Robert Bailey winning by nearly 500 votes.
Paul Cotterill, leader of the Labour Group on West Lancs Borough Council completed a miserable day for his party, coming third in West Lancashire South, behind the Conservative David O’Toole.
Second behind Mr O’Toole was Jim Bevan of the UKIP party, which had more votes than ever before in the wake of the expenses scandal.
Labour did manage to hold on to their seats in Skelmersdale Central and Skelmersdale West, while the Conservatives held on to West Lancashire East, West Lancashire North, West Lancashire South and West Lancashire West.
Labour also held on to Digmoor in the West Lancashire Borough Council by-election, with Jackie Coyle beating the Conservative’s Sarah Ainscough and UKIP’s Helen Daniels.
A disappointed Bob Pendleton blamed the scandal surrounding MPs’ expenses for his defeat, his first in 28 years in local politics.
“I don’t think it’s local issues that are showing here, it’s a result of the party performing as it has done nationally.
“It’s reflected here in people taking their revenge out on us.
“The Labour party has a hell of a hill to climb, but the party comes first and we need better leadership at the top.
“We need to get a different direction and we need to get up and fight again.
“This is the first time I’ve lost an election in 28 years, so I’m disappointed, but good luck to Carolyn, we wish her well.”
Overall the Conservatives won control of Lancashire County Council as Labour lost 28 seats in the election.
And the nearby South Ribble Rural East have snubbed the main political parties by electing Thomas Sharratt of the Idle Toad Party as their representative.
The party standings are now as follows: Conservatives: 51; Labour: 16; Liberal-Democrats: 10; Independents: 3; Green Party: 2; BNP: 1; Idle Toad: 1.
In the West Lancashire Council by-election Jackie Coyle won the seat vacated by Mary Whitby in April.
Digmoor by-election result:
Sarah Ainscough – Conservative – 110
Jackie Coyle – Labour – 515
Helen Daniels – UKIP – 236
Robert Bailey – Conservative – 1465
Ken Walters – English Democrats – 179
Maurice Green – Green Party – 412
Steve Hanlon – Labour – 968
Pat Franklin-Braid – UKIP – 427
Terry Aldridge – Labour – 1465
Paul Greenall – Conservative – 419
Mike Brennan – UKIP – 768
Bob Pendleton – Labour – 1513
Carolyn Evans – Conservative – 1678
Margaret Radcliffe – UKIP – 885
Maggie Skilling – Labour – 1369
Jane Haulgrove – Conservative – 507
Anne Doyle – Green Party – 332
Helen Daniels – UKIP – 893
West Lancashire East
David Westley – Conservative – 1984
John Watt – Green Party – 679
Jacqueline Citarella – Labour – 736
West Lancashire North
Malcolm Barron – Conservative – 2514
Alan Bullen – Labour – 532
Alan Robinson – UKIP – 732
West Lancashire South
David O'Toole – Conservative – 2339
Paul Cotterill – Labour – 878
Jim Bevan – UKIP – 995
West Lancashire West
William Cropper – Conservative – 2226
Martin Lowe – Green Party – 405
Cynthia Dereli – Labour – 1012
John Roughley – UKIP – 742