Rugby election: Labour take two seats as Conservatives vow to learn from 'disappointing' result

Labour have taken two seats from the controlling Conservative group to became the official opposition on Rugby Borough Council.

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And for leader Cllr Maggie O’Rourke (Lab, Benn) it marked a milestone for the party following what she deemed to be a 'good positive campaign'.

“We are thrilled as you can imagine,” she admitted. “I’d like to thank all those people who put their trust in us and voted Labour.

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“This really is a milestone for Rugby with swings right across the board which we have never seen before. If there was a parliamentary election in this town tomorrow we’d probably be returning a Labour MP for Rugby.

“I think we ran a very good, positive campaign and were the only party that had a plan, a vision for the town centre and we know what we need to do to get the Conservatives out. People are realising that we can actually deliver.

“For the first time Rugby is leading the way so I am absolutely thrilled.”

Labour’s gains were in Coton & Boughton and Admirals & Cawston. In the former, that saw the defeat of cabinet member Jill Simpson-Vince as Alison Livesey took the seat by just 27 votes while Michael Moran was elected in Admirals with a majority of more than 400 to oust Dale Keeling.

Newly-elected Councillor Michael Moran, who won Admirals and Cawston ward, said: “I’m humbled by the result and grateful for the support that people have shown for me from all across the community to get things done. People have responded to positive politics and together, we can get things done.”

Elsewhere it was business as usual albeit with large swings to Labour in a number of wards. Of the 14 seats, six went to the Tories, five to Labour and three to the Lib Dems.

Adrian Warwick, chair of Rugby Conservatives, said his party needed to learn from what was a disappointing election across the borough.

He said: “It is disappointing that we have lost two very good councillors but we’re not naive and we came into this aware that the national picture wasn’t brilliant. We have to get better at telling the local story and convincing the electorate that we are doing the right job.

“We maintained control of the council and defended many of our seats successfully. We have lost some of our majorities in areas but we have defended them which shows there is still a belief in us.

“We have been in control both nationally and locally for some time and mid-term elections are historically difficult. But we are here to do the right thing for people, work hard for the community and we need to tell that story on the doorsteps.”

The other new councillors taking their place in the chamber are Labour’s Richard Harrington (Benn) and John Slinger (New Bilton); Conservatives Toby Lawrence (Bilton) and Simon Ward (Wolvey & Shilton); and Lib Dem Sam Edwards (Eastlands).

Retaining their seats were Conservatives Deepah Roberts (Dunsmore), Ian Picker (Hillmorton), Belinda Garcia (Revel & Binley Woods) and Becky Maoudis (Wolvey & Shilton); Lib Dems Noreen New (Paddox) and Bill Lewis (Rokeby & Overslade); and Labour's Ram Srivastava (Newbold & Brownsover).