There was a good set of results for Gateshead Liberal Democrats in the local elections last week. But now the elections are over, we need your help for the next battle - the European Referendum.
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Gaining again in Gateshead
Lib Dems Whickham May 16
Ian Patterson, 3rd from left, was elected to Gateshead Council after an absence of 4 years, taking a seat from Labour.
In 2014 and 2015, no seats changed hands in elections for Gateshead Council. In the circumstances, no loss of seats was a victory for the Lib Dems. We have to go back to 2008 for the last Lib Dem gain in Gateshead. The elections on Thursday last week saw us breaking the recent mould when we gained Pelaw and Heworth from Labour. And we held the seats we were defending with increased majorities.

Historically, Pelaw and Heworth was a safe Labour ward. We then won it in the Blair years but lost it in the early Coalition years. Ian Patterson, who first won the seat for us about 16 years ago, continued to keep the ward warm though our expectations of winning it back this time were not high. Our campaign was aimed at putting us in a realistic jump-off position for a gain in 2018, when the next local elections are held.

Verification of votes took place after the polls closed on Thursday 5th May though the actual count itself was not due to start until 1.30pm on Friday 6th. We knew by the time we left in the early hours of Friday morning that it was neck-and-neck in the ward.

Back at the count on Friday afternoon, it was some time before Labour realised they had a problem in Pelaw and Heworth. They turned up expecting an easy win but after a while, it began to dawn on them that they were facing a problem in the ward. As the piles of votes mounted, they knew they were facing their first loss in 8 years. The count went right up to the wire for a photo finish. Lib Dem Ian Patterson won by 20 votes.

So after an absence of 4 years, Ian rejoins us in the Gateshead Lib Dem Council group and we can genuinely say that we have turned a corner.
election results graphs PH May 16
Labour's majority in the ward last year was 1367. The turn around in the space of a year is remarkable. Labour's share of the vote fell from 57% to 44% while the Lib Dem share doubled from 23% to 45%
A new member for Low Fell
litter pick Low Fell Feb 16 (3)
The Lib Dem group on Gateshead Council has a new member. Daniel Duggan was elected for Low Fell. He replaced former group leader Frank Hindle who retired after serving the ward for 24 years. Daniel clocked up a convincing win in the ward, The Lib Dem majority increased from 624 to 789. His share increased from 44% to 53%.

Pictured above: Daniel on a litter pick organised by the Low Fell Lib Dem Focus Team, with Cllr Susan Craig. Daniel also picked up 1700 votes in the ward in the election last week.
election results graphs LF May 16
A close contest in Ryton
Ryton team Feb 16
Mark Groves, 3rd left, slashed Labour's majority in Ryton from 1153 to 220.
One of the most closely fought wards was Ryton, Crookhill and Stella. Lib Dem candidate Mark Groves cut Labour's majority from 1153 to 220. This means the ward will be in contention for a full return to the Lib Dem fold in future elections.
election results graphs RCS May 16
Back in the lead in what was a marginal
Peter Maughan Chase Park Dec 15 2
Peter Maughan turned a Lib Dem deficit last year of 23 votes into a Lib Dem lead of 432 votes in last week's election.
In the past 2 sets of local elections, Dunston Hill and Whickham East was the most marginal ward. Last year, Labour clung on by the skin of their teeth, holding the seat with a majority of 23 over the Lib Dems. Lib Dem Councillor Peter Maughan was standing for re-election this year but he won a convincing majority of 432 votes and a share of 49%. The result means the two Labour seats in the ward could fall to the Lib Dems in elections in 2018 and 2019.
election results graphs DHWE May 16
Landslide in Labour's former top target
Sonya Hawkins Front St School Mar 16
Sonya Hawkins comfortably held Whickham North.
In 2011, Whickham North stayed Lib Dem in the local elections - but only just. Our majority was 24 over Labour and in the following elections, they regarded it as their top target seat in the North East. Labour's campaign failed repeatedly and at every election after 2011, the Lib Dem majority went up. Last week Sonya Hawkins held her seat with a majority of 763 and a share of 58%. This is a fantastic turn around for the Lib Dems.
election results graphs WN May 16
The strong just got stronger
wheelie bins and councillors Feb 16 (20)
John McClurey, Marilynn Ord and Jonathan Wallace, the 3 ward Councillors for Whickham South and Sunniside. John took nearly 2 out of every 3 votes cast in the ward.
Whickham South and Sunniside is one of the strongest Lib Dem wards in the North East, possibly even in the country. John McClurey was defending the ward this year and he increased the Lib Dem share of the vote from 50% to 63%. 
election results graphs WSS May 16
Help us win the battle to stay in Europe
On Thursday 23rd June, the UK will vote on whether to stay in the EU or to leave. The Liberal Democrats are an internationalist party that has always argued for British membership and involvement in the EU. 

We are asking each member to help by delivering some leaflets to homes near to where you live. We will be sending 75 leaflets to each member. If you are unable to deliver any, please contact Frank Hindle on this email link. Please contact Frank by midday on Saturday 14th May.

Lib Dems will also be having a street stall on Durham Road in Low Fell on Saturday 14th May, 10am - 12pm, to promote the Remain argument. Please feel free to join us on the day.
Copyright © 2016 Gateshead Liberal Democrats, All rights reserved.

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