Local election results 2024: Oldham Labour loses council control amid ‘Gaza backlash’

Tom Belger

Oldham Labour has lost control of the council in north-west England, with the party losing seats to independents in five wards, according to the BBC.

The local authority is now in no overall control, having been in power since 2011. Two former Labour councillors had quit the party in the run-up to polling day over the party’s stance on Gaza, local media suggest, despite the local Labour group backing a ceasefire.

Retiring councillor Paul Fryer told The Oldham Times:Labour have been in power in Oldham for 13 years, perhaps people are a bit tired of Labour. In some parts of the borough it’s the Gaza issue that may lose them the seat.”

Elections expert Rob Ford had said in advance of the local elections that Oldham was among the seats worth watching to see if Labour was “struggling” in councils with above-average Muslim voter numbers, given controversy over its position on the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Labour remains the largest party, however, with 27 seats. The Lib Dems were one seat down to nine, the Tories are down one to eight, and there are 16 “independents and others”, according to the BBC’s tally.

Labour had been in a precarious position going into the contest, needing only one seat loss to lose control.

See more coverage of the 2024 local elections here.

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