The results are in: Cambridge local elections 2021

Cambridgeshire County Council has ‘no overall control’ as Conservatives lose majority, and Labour retain control of Cambridge City Council

On Thursday (06/05), Cambridge residents voted in four different elections: the Cambridgeshire County Council, Cambridge City Council, Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and the Police and Crime Commissioner. 

The Conservatives remain the largest party in the County Council but have lost their majority and Labour marginally increased its majority in the City Council. In one of the more surprising results, Labour’s Nik Johnson defeated Conservative incumbent James Palmer to be elected as Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. The Conservative Darryl Preston has been voted as the Police and Crime Commissioner. 

Following boundary changes, all 61 seats in the Cambridgeshire County Council and 42 in the City Council were up for election.

Cambridgeshire County Council

The Conservatives lost their majority in the Cambridgeshire County Council but remain the largest party with 28 of the 61 overall seats, down from the 36 seats they had in 2017. 

Several seats switched from Conservative to the Liberal Democrats, who gained 5 seats and are now the second-largest party with 20 seats overall. Labour gained two seats and now has 9 councillors. Two independent councillors and two members of the St Neots Independent Group were also elected. 

After four years of Conservative rule, no party gained the 31 seats required to form a majority. 

The county council is responsible for services including roads and footpaths, education, social care, and libraries. 

Cambridge City Council 

Labour increased its majority within the Cambridge City Council by one seat, now holding 27 out of 42 available seats. The Liberal Democrats won 12 seats, a decrease of three since 2017, and the Green Party elected two councillors. One independent councillor, Sam Davies, was elected in Queen Edith’s. 

City councils cover a smaller area than county councils, and are responsible for services including rubbish collection, housing, and planning applications.

Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority

Labour’s Nik Johnson was elected Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough in an unexpected victory against Conservative incumbent James Palmer.

In the first round, Palmer gained 40.5% of first preference votes, followed by Johnson with 32.81% and the Liberal Democrat candidate, Aidan Van de Weyer, had 26.68%.

The mayoral elections use a supplementary voting system, with people making a first and second choice. As no mayoral candidate gained the required 50% of first preference votes, only the top two candidates remained in the contest, and Van de Weyer was eliminated. The second preference votes of Van de Weyer were then redistributed in order to determine the winner. 

In the second round of voting, Johnson won with 113,994 votes to Palmer’s 108,195.

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough mayoral position was created in 2017, when Palmer was elected with 56.9% of second preference votes. The Labour candidate was eliminated in the first round of voting.

The turnout for the 2021 Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Mayoral election was 36.99%, up from 33.6% in 2017.

The Police and Crime Commissioner

Conservative Darryl Preston has been elected as Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Police and Crime Commissioner.

This position also uses a supplementary voting system. No candidate received over 50% of first preference votes, so Preston and Nicky Massey (Labour) made it into the second round of voting. After the transfer of second preference votes from the Liberal Democrat and Reform UK candidates, the Conservative candidate won with 114,053 votes to Labour’s 102,195.

The Conservative Party have held this position since its creation in 2012.

The turnout for this vote was 37.01%.

6 May 2021 was the largest day of voting in Britain since the 2019 general election, as some polls due to be held in 2020 were postponed to this year because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Up to 48 million people were eligible to vote for various positions including the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Senedd, and local councils. 

Feature image credit: Matilda Head and Descrier, Creative Commons License