by Michal Okonski
Leicester’s local elections on May 4th proved to be divisive, with Labour remaining in control but with a smaller majority of seats on the city council.
Labour, who controlled 53 out of a possible 54 seats before the election, now find themselves with 22 fewer councillors after the Conservatives gained 17 seats.
The Green Party also gained three councillors, all of which are in Castle Ward.
The Liberal Democrats also grabbed two extra seats, up from just one before the election.
Sir Peter Soulsby remains as mayor with almost 40 per cent of the vote, having been mayor since 2011, when the mayoral system was introduced.
Although Labour has 22 fewer councillors than previously, its members say they are looking ahead.
Adam Clarke, Labour councillor for Westcotes and Deputy Mayor, said: “We’re not worried. In the face of Tory cuts, we’ve got a job of delivering a fairer, safer, and happier city.
“All we’re focused on is delivering the manifesto that we’ve been elected to deliver.”
One of the main contention points in the election was the position of an elected mayor and whether it is the right system of governance.
The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats believe in getting rid of the mayor position and moving to a committee governance, but Councillor Adam Clarke said the current leadership is correct.
“I think the mayoral system helps give a transparent democracy that’s open to all conversations,” Mr Clarke added.
“Peter is the best qualified person to run the city. We think we can see the light at the end of the tunnel in terms of change and making sure the city thrives.”
The Labour Party’s priority now, Cllr Clarke said, is to achieve its stated target to reach net zero carbon emissions for the city as soon as possible.
“Many communities in Leicester come from countries where the effects of climate change are strongest, so we have to stay climate ready here too,” he added.
The full election results can be found here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election/2023/england/councils/E06000016#mayor-scoreboard.