Burnley Council Elections 2021: Labour leader sad to lose 'really talented and hard-working' councillors
Burnley Labour leader Mark Townsend says national issues have cost his group dearly after four councillors lost their seats.
Labour remains the biggest party on Burnley Council with 18 councillors – five short of an overall majority – but it has been a worrying decline for a group that only two years ago boasted a total of 27.
While talks will now centre around coalitions and how best to form a town hall administration, a decision will also need to be made regards the Labour leadership.
Coun. Townsend is set to stand down to become Mayor later on this month.
His former deputy, Lian Pate, had been expected to throw her hat into the ring, but that won't be happening after she lost her Brunshaw seat to Andy Wight of the Greens.
Trinity turned from red to Green also, with Coun. Martyn Hurt defeating Tony Martin.
Bill Horrocks (Coal Clough) and Kate Proctor (Gawthorpe) were the other two Labour casualties.
Despite a disheartening outcome, Coun. Townsend was in a philosophical mood, pointing out his party still won more seats than anybody else on the day.
"These are really disappointing results.
"We have lost some really talented and hard-working councillors who should be proud of the work they have done for our borough.
"This is the first test of public opinion since the earthquake General Election of 2019 and is that result now being reflected into local politics.
"National issues have cost us dearly but it should be noted that we still won 5 of the 15 seats available which is more than any other Party.
"Labour are still by far the largest party on the council but we understand that the council is in no overall control and discussions will be necessary with others to ensure the town has clear and decisive leadership to move the town forward as we exit the pandemic.