Over recent weeks I have been out and about on doorsteps supporting local Conservative candidates for the Council elections. I have been in Wokingham and Winnersh, Earley and Shinfield, where the nine contests were taking place. I am grateful to constituents who spent time telling me their thoughts and feelings on local and national matters. I now have some more casework to pursue.
8 Conservatives and 1 Liberal Democrat were elected as Councillors. I congratulate them all, and look forward to working with them where there are matters requiring co-operation between national and local levels of government.
I also always look at what defeated candidates were saying, and do not ignore the views of their supporters. This time the most notable feature was the rise of the Greens. The party fielded 6 candidates and shot into fourth place after the three main parties. They did best in Shinfield South, where they took 31% of the vote.
Conservatives were very conscious of the sudden surge in Green support in Shinfield. My impression on the doorstep there was that residents are concerned about the expansion of the village and the impact that will have on the local environment. I did not find people wanted to talk to me about wider Green party issues like climate change, nor did anyone ask for green policies to make energy dearer to reduce use more. I am sure our re-elected Councillor there has understood the worries and will work closely with the village over any development proposals to limit their impact and to ensure sensible sites are used.
The overall figures for votes cast in the nine Wokingham constituency seats on WBC are given below in order of party success:
Conservative 8377 48.8%
Liberal Democrat 3824 22.3%
Labour 2223 13%
Green 1356 7.9%
UKIP 1280 7.5%
Independent 82 0.5%
At the General Election in 2010 in the Wokingham constituency as a whole the percentages were Conservative 52.7%, Lib Dem 28%, Labour 10% , various Independents 5%, UKIP 3%, Greens 1%.
Compared to 2008 the Conservative, Lib Dem and UKIP votes all fell, whilst the Green vote rose by over 1000 and Labour also gained.