New line-up for Labour in Ashfield

Counting votes t in Ashfield at Kirkby's Festival Hall
Counting votes t in Ashfield at Kirkby's Festival Hall

Ashfield District Council will be led by a woman for the first time in its 39 year history.

Councillor Cheryl Butler, who represents the Kirkby Cross and Portland ward, will be the first woman to lead the controlling Labour group - taking over from coun Chris Baron who hung on to Hucknall West with only eight votes.

Annesley and Kirkby Woodhouse’s Don Davis is to be deputy leader, but news of other cabinet roles will not be revealed under part two of Labour’s AGM next Monday.

Coun Butler said: “We have had a bit of a shuffle around with roles. There have been some changes.”

The former deputy leader, who was first elected in 2011, also promised more roles for women in the new cabinet.

She said: “I have been involved with the Labour party since I was knee-high to a grasshopper. I have a strong Labour background in my family.”

Coun Butler said she anticipated ADC’s grant from central government being cut by between 20 and 30 per cent. She conceded that cuts were ‘inevitable’, but says she hopes to off-set them with income generation. She said: “I really do not want to do any compulsory redundancies.”

Last week’s local elections saw Labour buck the national trend to retain control with 22 of the 35 seats 22.

Five seats went to the Liberal Democrats and four to the Independents, with the Conservatives picking up four seats in Hucknall. UKIP drew a blank, despite fielding 14 candidates, as did the Hucknall First Community Forum, created earlier this year by experienced ex-councillors, some of whom had been de-selected by the Labour Party. However, none of them won election.

Hucknall also featured two examples of a father and two sons standing for election -- the Morrisons for Labour and the Rostances for the Conservatives.

Brothers Keir Morrison (Hucknall South) and Lachlan (Hucknall Central) were successful, but dad Ian was beaten into sixth in Hucknall North. Dad Kevin Rostance and son Phil topped the polls in Hucknall West, but son Anthony was pipped into fourth, missing out on a family hat-trick by eight votes.

Voter turnout was encouragingly high, ranging from 62 per cent to 69 per cent in most wards.