LOCAL ELECTIONS: Hucknall and Ashfield painted red

HAT-TRICK -- Labour winners (from left) Lachlan, Ian and Keir Morrison
HAT-TRICK -- Labour winners (from left) Lachlan, Ian and Keir Morrison

HUCKNALL was painted red as Labour swept back into outright control of Ashfield District Council on a dominant night to remember at the local elections.

Not only do initial results suggest the party grabbed 24 of the 33 seats available on Thursday (May 5), its success was built on a stunning showing in Hucknall.

I'LL BE BACK -- Chris Baron (Lab), pictured with Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero at the election count

I'LL BE BACK -- Chris Baron (Lab), pictured with Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero at the election count

For Labour reigned supreme in the town, winning all nine positions up for grabs.

The result lived up to predictions by Coun John Knight (Lab), leader of the council, who retained his own seat in Kirkby West.

“We have really given everything in this campaign,” he added.

The mood is a stark contrast to four years ago.

The party was in the doldrums after the vote of 2007 when it relinquished power for the first time since the council was formed in 1974 — on the back of an unpopular government headed by Gordon Brown.

From a position of unchallenged supremacy, it succumbed to the Liberal Democrats, who eventually took the reins, and a band of Independents.

The red rose was left clinging to just nine seats.

But this time around, there was a sense of euphoria as it capitalised on the anit-Conservative and Lib Dem sentiment primarily brought about by the coalition government’s sweeping public-spending cuts.

The local vote was an incredible indictment on Labour’s rivals, most notably the Liberal Democrats, who tumbled from holding 13 seats at Ashfield to just six. The party lost all three positions it held in Hucknall West.

As for the Tories, they went into the battle clinging to just one seat — that held by John Dymock in Hucknall North.

But he was ousted, leaving the Conservatives without a presence at Ashfield.

The unique decision of Labour to send three members of the same family into bat in Hucknall — dad Ian Morrison and his sons, Lachlan and Keir — paid big dividends.

For Ian was elected in North alongside the town’s longest-serving councillor, John Wilmott (Lab).

Lachlan got in alongside sitting Labour man Trevor Locke in Hucknall Central.

While Keir, despite being at the centre of a storm of controversy over an anti-Margaret Thatcher t-shirt he wore while posing for a picture with Labour leader Ed Miliband, was also voted in. He won through in Hucknall East with Dave Shaw (Lab), who retained his seat.

In Hucknall’s biggest ward — West, which returns three councillors — the biggest winner was Chris Baron, who returns to politics after being ousted from Notts County Council two years ago. He was previously a member of Ashfield Council for 12 years representing the town.

He is joined by fellow Labour winners Jim Grundy and Ken Knight.

Hucknall West is also notable because of two of the candidates who lost out — Tories Couns Mick Murphy and Kevin Rostance, who are current Hucknall members of the county council.