ELECTION: Full coverage of today’s Harrogate district vote


Last updated May 6, 2022

The Liberal Democrats won the most divisions in the Harrogate district but the Conservatives secured an overall majority on North Yorkshire Council.

Here’s what happened.

3.42pm: Tories win majority on North Yorkshire Council – just

The Conservatives needed 46 councillors to secure a majority on the new North Yorkshire Council. They got 47. Nine came from the Harrogate district, where the Liberal Democrats had 10 councillors elected.

2.56pm: Lib Dems in jubilant mood

There’s no doubt which party is in the most jubilant mood. The Lib Dems are still whooping and hollering and most Conservatives have left the building. The final tally in the Harrogate district is: Lib Dems 10, Conservatives 9, Independents 1, Greens 1.

But remember, the Conservatives have overall control of North Yorkshire Council.

Here are the 10 Lib Dem councillors.

Lib Dems

2.50pm: Lib Dems victorious in Harrogate district – but Tories have overall control

The Liberal Democrats won 10 of the 21 divisions contested in the Harrogate division. It makes them the largest party locally but the Conservatives have secured overall control of North Yorkshire Council.

2.42pm: Margaret Atkinson wins Masham and Fountains

Margaret Atkinson defeats Independent Lady Felicity Cunliffe-Lister, who owns Swinton estate, by gaining 1.076 votes compared with 738.

2.40pm: Andrew Jones declines to comment

Andrew Jones 

The Stray Ferret approached Andrew Jones, the Conservative MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough, for comment on today’s results but he waved us away.

2.36pm: Matt Walker wins Knaresborough West

Matt Walker defeats Tory Phil Ireland. Mr Ireland got 988 votes — the cheers drown out Cllr Walker’s final vote as soon as ‘one thousand’ was announced.

Mr Ireland is the cabinet member for carbon reduction and sustainability at Harrogate Borough Council so this is another big loss for the Tories.

2.32pm: Graham Swift gracious but defiant in defeat

Graham Swift, the Conservative deputy leader on Harrogate Borough Council, was gracious in his speech after losing to the Liberal Democrats in Coppice Valley and Duchy.

He congratulated all his opponents but reminded the audience that there was still cause for Tory optimism as it has won overall control of North Yorkshire Council.

Daniel Thompson, the Independent candidate in the division, said in his speech:

“It’s a sad day when the Conservatives can’t win a safe Conservative seat so look out Andrew Jones.”

2.29pm: Peter Lacey wins Coppice Valley and Duchy

Significant win for the Lib Dems, with Tory big beast Graham Swift relegated to second with 739 votes compared with Peter Lacey’s 940.

2.25pm Don Mackenzie says ‘combination of factors’ led to Tory losses. 

Conservative Don Mackenzie, who did not seek re-election, is at the count. We asked why the Conservatives had lost many divisions in the Harrogate district.

“Combination of things. National issues, a reticence of traditional supporters to come out and vote.”

Does he think Boris Johnson could damage the party’s General Election prospects?

“Without question national politics was an issue, not necessarily Boris. Covid, cost of living crisis. These things will settle down. When it comes to the General Election it will be a much more benign national picture”

2.22pm: Labour calls for proportional representation

Beaten Labour candidate Geoff Foxall calls for the introduction of proportional representation. Labour has yet to win a division in the Harrogate district with just two to declare. Mr Foxall adds:

“Today marks a dent in the Tory majority that’s grown so large they have become arrogant and out of touch.”

2.16pm: Chris Aldred takes High Harrogate and Kingsley

In his victory speech, Cllr Aldred admits he didn’t think he would win. He says:

“What a day to be a Liberal Democrat. Best set of results in 20 years. We are back in Harrogate.”

2.13pm: Liberal Democrats make big gains in Harrogate district 

The Conservatives have secured an overall majority in North Yorkshire. But the picture is close in the Harrogate district where, with just a few results to go, the Tories have won nine divisions and the Liberal Democrats 8.

2.06pm: Barbara Brodigan wins Ripon Ure Bank and Spa

Cllr Brodigan says the time for competition is over, the time for cooperation has started amongst opposition parties.

2.02pm: Confirmation of Tory win

1.58pm: Greens win in Ouseburn

Arnold Warneken becomes the first Green county councillor elected in the Harrogate district. He beats Conservative candidate Richard Musgrave by 1,328 votes to 586.

1.55pm: Conservatives win North Yorkshire Council!

The Conservatives have secured the 46 seats needed to have an overall majority on the new North Yorkshire Council.

Results are still coming in the the Harrogate district.

1.53pm: Andrew Williams wins Ripon Minster and Moorside

1.51pm: Robert Windass wins Boroughbridge and Claro

Robert Windass wins with 936 votes, ahead of Independent Jon Starkey with 486 votes.

1.48pm: Michael Harrison wins Killinghall, Hampsthwaite and Saltergate

1.45pm: Will Conservatives get majority?

The Conservatives need 46 divisions for an overall majority. This graphic doesn’t include some of the latest Lib Dem wins.

1.42pm: Pub landlord Mike Schofield wins Harlow and St Georges

Shepherd’s Dog landlord Mike Schofield wins with 1,239 votes, ahead of Tory Steven Jackson, with 845 votes.

1.37pm: Andrew Murday wins Pateley Bridge and Nidderdale

Mr Murday says it’s been a great day for the Liberal Democrats and the result shows the Conservatives can’t sit back and be complacent.

Beaten Conservative candidate Stanley Lumley says it’s a sad day for him after 23 years serving local people and congratulates the winner.

1.34pm: Hannah Gostlow wins Knaresborough East

1.31pm Nathan Hull wins Washburn and Birstwith

1.25pm: John Mann takes Oatlands and Pannal

John Mann, Conservatives, 1,175

Justin Chan, Lib Dems, 820

Gillian Charters, 266

Margaret Smith, Labour 250

1.23pm: Has Boris Johnson cost Tories?

Monika Slater, the successful Liberal Democrat in Bilton Grange and New Park, says:

“I’m stunned. I’m so happy. I’ve had so much support from people. I’m really excited to represent the area.”

Asked why the Conservatives did badly in her division, she said:

“It’s a mix. Boris Johnson played a part but people in Harrogate are really fed up. They see Harrogate in decline and think things need to change.”

1.20pm: Nick Brown wins Wathvale and Bishop Monkton

Nick Brown, Conservative, 1,334

Hannah Corlett, Greens, 455

Chris Knight, Liberal Democrat, 559

1.14pm: Philip Broadbank wins Fairfax and Starbeck

Philip Broadbank, Lib Dems, 921

Sue Lumby, Conservatives, 442

Gordon Schallmo, Greens, 103

Chris Watt, Labour, 337

Cllr Broadbank says it “looks like being a reasonable day for the Liberal Democrats”.

Beaten Tory candidate Ms Lumby says it is a sad day for Harrogate and Knaresborough because some great councillors have gone. “Be careful what you wish for,” she says.

A Liberal Democrat shouts back that “we’ve got some great new councillors”.

1.10pm: Paul Haslam wins Bilton and Nidd Gorge

Conservative Paul Haslam wins with 1,017 votes, well ahead of Liberal Democrat Andrew Kempston-Parkes, who got 663 votes. The Lib Dem issues a plea for parties to work together to oppose the Tories.

1.06pm: Conservatives take Spofforth with Lower Wharfedale & Tockwith

Andrew Paraskos is elected in Spofforth with Lower Wharfedale & Tockwith with 929 votes. Green candidate Alexandra Marsh was second with 630.

1pm:  Sam Gibbs wins Valley Gardens and Central Harrogate

Lucy Gardiner, Independent 331

Sam Gibbs, Conservative 871

David Johnson, Liberal Democrats 545

Paul Ko Ferrigno, Green Party 162

Andrew Williamson, Labour Party, 275

12.55pm: Pat Marsh wins Stray Woodlands and Hookstone

12.52 First result: Monika Slater wins Bilton Grange and New Park

Monika Slater, Lib Dems 968

Matt Scott, Conservatives 677

Andrew Zigmund, Labour 159

Tamsin Worrall, Greens, 123

12.49pm: First results in Harrogate district due now

Returning officer Wallace Sampson is on the plinth.

12.37pm: Conservatives silent as first results loom

There are some glum faces on the Conservative table, amid increasing rumours of losses. The Stray Ferret asked if it would be issuing a comment on proceedings and was told by council leader Richard Cooper, who is not seeking election, that it would not talk to us. Andrew Jones, the Conservative MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough, is sitting with them.

12.43pm: Still no Tory majority

With 33 of the 90 divisions decided, here’s the current state of play. We are still waiting for the first official result in the Harrogate district.

Conservatives 15

Independents 8

Labour Party 5

Green Party 3

Liberal Democrats 2

12.30pm: Pat Marsh tipped to win in Stray, Woodlands and Hookstone

Pat Marsh, the leader of the Liberal Democrats on Harrogate Borough Council, is said to have beaten Conservative John Ennis, Independent Anna McIntee and Labour’s Helen Burke.

People are talking openly about results here at the count but none have been formally declared.

12.27pm:  Is hung council possible?

Could the unthinkable happen and the Conservatives not have overall control? Results in North Yorkshire are flying in — but none yet in the Harrogate district. The Tories are winning but don’t have an overall majority. Here’s how it looks.

Greens 3

Lib Dem: 2

Conservative: 15

Lab: 3

Independent  7

Liberal Party: 1

I1.23pm: Independents not expecting any wins in Harrogate

Harrogate independents

The Independents are not expecting any wins in the Harrogate district but they insist it has been worth standing and are predicting a ‘pink landslide’ in any future elections for Harrogate Town Council.

Daniel Thompson, who is standing in Coppice Valley and Duchy, says:

“We have made an impact. The goal was to open up the debate and we’ve done that.

“There could be Harrogate town council elections coming up and there could be a pink landslide.”

12.15: Rumours Graham Swift has lost to Lib Dems

The Conservatives are looking increasingly glum amid talk of several defeats in the Harrogate district. There is speculation that Graham Swift is struggling in Coppice Valley and Duchy, where the Liberal Democrats are confident.

Cllr Swift is one of the leading Conservatives in the area. He is deputy leader of harrogate Borough Council and the Cabinet member for resources, enterprise and economic development.

12.10pm: Five divisions for Independents so far

The Independents have made a strong start, with five wins so far, the latest victor being Robert Heseltine in Skipton East and South. Will the five Independents in the Harrogate district fare well when the votes comes in?

12.07pm: Two wins for Labour

Labour has its first councillors, although there are still no results declared in the Harrogate division.

11.55am: Conservatives establish lead

Despite fears of a poor night in the Harrogate district, the Conservatives have made a good start across North Yorkshire as a whole. They currently have 10 councillors, compared with four for Independents, one for the Liberal Democrats and one for the Greens. We still await the first result in the Harrogate division.

11.52am: Greens win first seat on North Yorkshire County Council

The Green Party has won its first ever division on the county council. Andrew Brown has the distinction in Aire Valley.

11.49am: Counts underway in Ripon and Knaresborough

Counting is underway in Knaresborough East and Ripon Ure Bank and Spa. Turnout is 36% and 38% respectively.

11.47am: Conservatives braced for losses in Knaresborough

A senior Conservative has said the party is expecting to lose in Knaresborough and it was ‘looking rocky’ in some marginal divisions in the Harrogate district.

11.40am: Conservatives establish early lead in North Yorkshire

No results have been declared in the Harrogate district yet but so far in North Yorkshire as a whole, the Conservatives have won four divisions and two have gone to Independents. There are 90 seats being contested.

11.36am: Council leader Carl Les elected

Carl Les, the current leader of North Yorkshire County Council, has been elected. Cllr Les has indicated he wants to stand as leader for the new North Yorkshire Council, which comes into existence next year. Richard Cooper, the current leader of Harrogate Borough Council, is not standing for election today.

11.28am: Variable turnout figures

Counting is underway in most divisions now. Turnout is 42% in Ouseburn, 43% in Pateley and Nidderdale, 41% in Oatlands and Pannal, 34% in Wathdale and Bishop Monkton and 32% in High Harrogate and Kingsley.

11.19am: Could Green Party make history?

Arnold Warneken

The buzz is that Arnold Warneken, pictured above, is a shoe-in for the Green Party in Ouseburn. We just saw a Labour candidate in another division congratulate him but Mr Warneken is refusing to get carried away. If he is elected he could become the first Green Party councillor on North Yorkshire County Council. Counting for Ouseburn has just got underway – turnout is 42%.

11.11am: Higher turnout in central Harrogate

Counts are starting in many areas now and there are higher turnouts in some of the central Harrogate areas, with turnout up to 43% compared with rural areas, where it is struggling to get above 30%.

11.05am: Labour’s ‘positive message resonating with voters’

Chris Watt

Chris Watt, the Labour candidate for Fairfax and Starbeck, says he’s confident its vote has “held up and even increased”. He said:

“We are pleased in our target areas our vote seems to have held up and even increased. We’ve run a strong campaign across the district. Labour’s positive message seems to be resonating on the doorstep.”

10.56am: Bilton turnout 33%

Counting has begun for Bilton and Nidd Gorge and for Bilton Grange and New Park. Turnout in both divisions was 33%, with 1,991 votes cast in the former and 1,989 in the latter.

10.50am: Low turnout likely

Returning officer Wallace Sampson says the turnout in Killinghall, Hampsthwaite and Saltergate was just 30%, with 1,865 votes cast. By comparison, turnout at the last Harrogate Borough Council elections in 2018 was 37%.

10.43am: Count begins first in Killinghall, Hampsthwaite and Saltergate

Wallace Sampson

Returning officer Wallace Sampson, chief executive of Harrogate Borough Council, announces the count is about to begin for Killinghall, Hampsthwaite and Saltergate, where Conservative Michael Harrison is standing against Liberal Democrat David Goode, Labour’s Edward Clayson and Green Party member Bill Rigby.

10.32am: Green Party ‘confident’ of winning Ouseburn

Bill Rigby and Hannah Corlett Green Party

Green Party candidates Bill Rigby and Hannah Corlett, pictured, say they are confident Arnold Warneken could spring a surprise and defeat Conservative Richard Musgrave in Ouseburn. They are the only two candidates standing there. The Greens say they are less hopeful in Knaresborough.

10.18am: Conservatives ‘cautious but confident’ in Wathvale and Bishop Monkton

Nick Brown

Nick Brown, the Conservative candidate for Wathvale and Bishop Monkton. says he is quietly confident but cautious.

9.55am: Independents hopeful in Ripon

Eamon Parkin

Ripon Independents are hopeful of doing well in the city. City mayor Eamon Parkin, pictured here at the count, is hoping to be elected in the Ure Bank division, where he is against Liberal Democrats Libby Clements and Helen Mason

9.25am: Verification of votes underway

Election count

There’s a couple of hundred people here at Harrogate Convention Centre, including candidates. The verification process is underway. Conservative council leader Richard Cooper, who is not standing for election, is in the blue shirt in the image.

8.50am: North Yorkshire results due this morning

The Harrogate district results will be announced at Harrogate Convention Centre. Nationally, the Conservatives have made losses and Labour, the Liberal Democrats and Greens have made gains. But the scale of the task facing opposition parties is highlighted by fact that 54 of the 72 councillors currently on North Yorkshire County Council are Conservatives, with some getting as much as 80% of the vote at the last elections in 2017.


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