Labour Back in Force in Peterborough

vote07:08 Friday 6th May 2011
Peterborough Breakfast Show
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

PAUL STAINTON: Now, last night, passion, turnout, jubilation. (AUDIO: CHANTING AND CLAPPING) Who says local elections don’t count? Who says nobody cares? Jubilant scenes last night in Peterborough. 19 seats up for grabs. Leader Marco Cereste increased his majority in Stanground Central, but he watched in agony as his Tory Party lost 4 seats to Labour. (TAPE)
MARCO CERESTE: Well considering I thought I’d probably lose the seat, to increase my majority was wholly unexpected.
ANDY BURROWS: Did you honestly think you were going to lose this seat?
MARCO CERESTE: I thought so, yes. It’s been extremely hard fought. It’s a marginal. It’s a marginal seat. It’s probably one of the most marginal seats in the city. So I’m elated that we’ve won it. I’m devasated to lose some of our councillors, some councillors who’ve been in the Conservative Group for years that have lost their seats. And I think it’s a real tragedy. (LIVE)
PAUL STAINTON: Well the Conservatives did pick up 2 seats elsewhere though. Orton Waterville, from Graham Murphy of the English Democrats, a former Cabinet member of course, and Central Ward they picked up from Labour. There were some big swings for Labour though, none bigger than in Ravensthorpe, where Ed Murphy, the former Labour parliamentary candidate was victorious. (TAPE)
ED MURPHY: We needed a 30% swing to win Ravensthorpe. It’s where I grew up. It’s where I was a County Councillor formerly. I’ve come back into politics in Peterborough local government now, and we’ve taken Ravensthorpe from the Conservatives.
ANDY BURROWS: As we’re talking, you’ve gained 4 seats tonight. You’ve lost Central ward though, but overall you must be very happy at this moment in time.
ED MURPHY: We’ve doubled the number of Labour councillors on Peterborough City Council. And I’ve won as a Labour and Co-operative councillor. We’ll be there, scrutinising everything the Council does, making sure they work more efficiently and effectively for the people of Peterborough. (LIVE)
PAUL STAINTON: Well for the LibDems it’s been an awful night all across the country, and in Peterborough. They concentrated their efforts on just one ward, Werrington South, but Mayor Elect Paula Thacker cruised home. In North Ward, Charlie Swift was victorious, and heads towards 60 years as a councillor in Peterborough. I tip my cap to you good sir. He didn’t even stick around to hear the declaration. Didn’t need to. Left all his talking to his agent, Councillor and Mayor Keith Sharp. (TAPE)
KEITH SHARP: He said we know what we’ve done, we know we’ve got an 800 majority. He’s going to get a good night’s rest, so he can celebrate in the morning. (LIVE)
PAUL STAINTON: Well a brilliant night for Charlie Swift. And you heard a clip of him earlier, a great night for Ed Murphy, Labour councillor now for Ravensthorpe. Congratulations!
ED MURPHY: Thank you very much Paul.
PAUL STAINTON: That is amazing. You said it yourself, a 30% swing required, and there you go.
ED MURPHY: Yes. It was very hard work. People in Westwood in particular came out and voted Labour. And we’ve taken it back after 10 years.
PAUL STAINTON: Why did they vote Labour?
ED MURPHY: I think for very many reasons. A lot of it was that they knew that they had a councillor that would serve them well standing for the Labour and Co-operative Party. There was a national swing against the Conservatives, but there are very many local factors as well. And I think people were getting fed up with the broken promises nationally, and locally some of the inefficiencies and the Tory-managed council these Tories have been running.
PAUL STAINTON: Yes. Isn’t this just a protest vore though Ed? Aren’t you just borrowing these votes, and this seat?
ED MURPHY: No, I don’t think we are. There was a high turnout in Ravensthorpe as well. I met many people. We had quite a long campaign. I’ve been working a year in Ravensthorpe, and before in the European elections as well, and I’ve been trying to help Labour get a Labour councillor re-elected in Ravensthorpe now for a few years. So I think we’ve built up the momentum there. We certainly had an increase in party membership, and party activity as well.
PAUL STAINTON: What did you stand on? What were the big issues that you stood on that swung it for you, do you think?
ED MURPHY: Well I stood that I would be voicing the concerns that affect ordinary folk, who are being squeezed in Ravensthorpe, irrespective of their political opinions.
ED MURPHY: Making sure, for example, that the communal areas are looked after properly by Cross Keys Homes and the City Council, and the neglect stops, and that they have councillors who actually do the job, and reply to the constituents’ letters, and the constituents’ concerns.
PAUL STAINTON: What sort of councillor are you going to be Ed? Can the Conservative ruling majority look forward to your appearance?
ED MURPHY: Well the Council’s going to be lively. We’ve got some new councillors now on Peterborough City Council, people who haven’t been there before. There will be a fresh approach. We will be scrutinising things on the Council. We won’t be just letting things happen, and things suddenly appear out of the blue. We’ll be watching the Council at every step, making sure that they don’t hike the service charges for elderly people, making sure that they do do what they’re supposed to do, and spend money on local people, not on pet projects.
PAUL STAINTON: Ed, thank you for that. Ed Murphy, victorious in Ravensthorpe for Labour this morning.