CALM leadership, common ground and support for those who need it.

Those are the three promises made by Cllr Samantha Dixon, Labour leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, after her party lost its overall majority at Friday’s election count.

Having enjoyed overall control with a majority of one – but facing boundary changes which have seen CWAC lose five council seats – Labour ended the day as the largest party with 35 members.

But that figure is one short of the 36 needed for an overall majority – and Cllr Dixon is promising to work with her political opponents for the good of the borough.

Asked what her aims are for the four years ahead, Cllr Dixon told the Guardian: “To provide very calm leadership. I think that the country and our borough needs that.

“People don’t need stunts, they don’t need flashy soundbites.

“They need to have people who are there for them, they need to understand what we are going to provide, they need to understand that even though austerity continues they are going to be supported and helped.


Labour loses overall majority by just one seat

“That’s a really important message for those of us in the Labour group, that the most vulnerable need protection, and those of us who can help will do so.”

The Conservatives ended the day as the second-largest party on the council with 28 seats, while four independent candidates were elected onto CWAC, along with two Liberal Democrats and one Green Party candidate.

Cllr Dixon said: “In the past four years we have actually had very constructive relationships across the whole of the council.

“Many of the decisions the council has taken have been on a cross-party basis, we have worked well with the independents that have been re-elected, and we are looking forward to meeting the new members of the council.

“I can always find common ground with anyone.”

In the final count of the day – for Winsford Over and Verdin – Labour missed out on taking all three council seats available by just seven votes, as Conservative Mike Baynham pipped David Stearne to the post.


Voter turnouts for Northwich and Winsford revealed

Winsford Swanlow also saw Stephen Burns, CWAC’s deputy chairman, defeated by Liberal Democrat candidate Malcolm Gaskill by just 11 votes.

But despite falling short with the tightest of margins, Cllr Dixon was upbeat as events drew to a close in Ellesmere Port.

She said: “I feel really pleased actually, and proud of the Labour candidates who have become councillors today.

“Even those who weren’t elected, and some of those by a very narrow margin, I think can be satisfied that we have actually campaigned as hard as they possibly can, talked to as many people as we can, pounded the streets of the borough to actually put across what it means for people here.

“I think we have a very strong manifesto, we have a very strong record for the past four years, I think people recognise that and they have supported us with their votes.”