Oldham council local election 2024 results in full

Polling stations have been open across Oldham for the local elections 2024 -Credit:Getty Images
Polling stations have been open across Oldham for the local elections 2024 -Credit:Getty Images

Oldham council went into No Overall Control last night after an edge-of-seat election left Labour five councillors down. The party lost seven seats and gained two, while independent candidates gained a total of eight seats.

This year a third of council seats were up for election, with a total of 20 seats up for grabs in all wards of the borough. But with the Labour leadership barely holding onto an overall majority, even one seat would have spelt the end of the party’s 13-year dominance in the town hall.

The new political landscape leaves Oldham in an uncertain position, as councillors must now scramble to decide a new form of leadership.

MP Jim McMahon, who was present at the count, blamed the results on the ‘divisive and toxic’ politics in the borough.

Mr McMahon said: “Our candidates are of the community and ran a really positive campaign about the borough. There’s no doubt though that Oldham has wrestled with what has been half a decade of very divisive and toxic politics.

“Unfortunately that’s been allowed to be mainstreamed into the political discourse. It’s had an impact on elections over the years, and certainly on candidates. And that’s definitely been a feature tonight.”

In total, Labour held five seats and gained two new ones from the Failsworth Independents in Failsworth East and the Conservatives in Hollinwood. Despite the huge hit to the party’s leadership, council boss Arooj Shah said she was ‘proud’ of her candidates' campaigns.

Coun Shah said: “Obviously it’s been a really long night but we’re really proud of our candidates. Our politics has been torn apart by extremism.

“We might not have overall control but we are still in control. We are still the largest party. Now it’s about coming together and putting the people of Oldham first.”

But the Gaza conflict also played a significant role in the election turn-out, with a number of candidates running on ‘boycott Labour’ campaigns because of Labour leader Keir Starmer’s stance on the conflict. Yet Labour sources argued the conflict had been used to ‘shore up’ anger despite local councillor having ‘very little say’’ over the government’s international politics.

One source said they thought campaigns had been run ‘thousands of miles from Oldham’ instead of on local issues.

Some independents emerged with voter numbers head and shoulders above the rest. Aisha Kourser in St Mary’s gained almost 3000 votes in her ward - more than half of the total number of votes cast there. She arrived to a great fanfare and fireworks in the car park of the Queen Elizabeth Hall before the count had begun.

Kourser said: “People vote for who they want to vote for… and in this case, it’s not Labour.”

Others saw a tight race, with Lucia Rea losing out on a seat in Failsworth East by just 19 votes.

The Lib Dems also lost one of their seats to the independents but held onto their councillors in Crompton, Saddleworth North and Saddleworth West and Lees. Meanwhile the Conservatives came away with two seats: Royton North and Saddleworth South.

A whopping 102 candidates stood for election across the borough, including eight candidates jostling for just one seat in both Chadderton Central and Hollinwood.

Around 36 percent of the population turned out to vote, which is similar to the turnout from last year, despite fears that the turnout would be much lower this year due to political apathy.

The political make-up of the council is now 26 Labour members, nine Lib Dems, seven Conservatives, two Failsworth Independent Party members and sixteen independents.

While Labour are still the biggest party in the council, the results will mean a shift in how the council is run.

In the next weeks, councillors will have to decide whether to run the local authority through a coalition or through a ‘minority administration’, where the biggest political group leads without overall control.

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