“That’s life.” How Tameside’s local election count unfolded

“That’s life, isn’t it?” said one of the main protagonists as Tameside’s Labour Party had a bittersweet night at the polls.

And that came a long time before it was confirmed David McNally’s 13-year tenure on St Peter’s ward was over.

It was apparent from very early on the feeling was independent Kaleel Khan would take arguably the safest seat in the borough.

The Correspondent speak to newly elected Cllr Kaleel Khan

Several hours, plenty of yawns, naps and exasperated calls of ‘get on with it’ later, those fears were confirmed.

After voting closed at 10pm, it was not until 3.02am the moment everyone at Dukinfield Town Hall had been waiting for arrived.

“You can start the local count.”

David McNally represented St Peter’s Ward in Ashton-under-Lyne for 13 years

Within two hours, all 19 results were declared, with the independents getting their voice in the council chamber.

While the McNally camp was all frowns, and on many occasions tears were shed, the now Cllr Khan’s was all beaming smile, which got steadily wider as the night went on.

As 1am passed, then 2am, then 3am with no Tameside election votes counted, tiredness set in as much as frustration.

It was crowded round the Stalybridge North table

One candidate was asked how his wife is. The answer? “She’s gone home.”

Given the way proceedings were dragging because of the need to verify votes in the concurrent Greater Manchester mayoral election, few could blame them.

Last year saw one ward draw lots as two candidates were tied, when sked if the same was possible, the reply came: “I bloody hope not!”

MP Andrew Gwynne arrived to see how the Denton constituency was performing at the polls

MPs came and went, council leader Cllr Gerald Cooney was grilled about many topics as to why he lost three senior figures, including one cabinet member and a head of a key committee.

And soon the question turned from, ‘Who will win?’ to ‘Will we be home before it gets light again?’

Once the first result in Denton North East came in, the other 18 arrived in a reasonably steady stream.

Returning officer Sandra Stewart was often drowned out by cheers from candidates’ supporters, even though she had a microphone – it cut out completely during Stephen Homer’s winning speech.

Andrea Colbourne retained her seat in Hyde Godley for the Conservatives

That will be Labour’s Stephen Homer, who was kitted out in blue clothes, even down to his trainers. Although as he put it: “It’s Manchester City blue!”

Thankfully, there was no need for a recount, meaning the coffee urns did not need refilling and the supplies of Tunnock’s Teacakes, Kit Kats and Jaffa Cake bars replenishing.

And people made their way into the Dukinfield street, the sun was just starting to poke its head above the horizon.

With some having the most suitable reaction to Labour’s up and down night, which saw them also lose Hyde Werneth and Stalybridge North.

No anger, no vitriol, no unnecessary gnashing of teeth. The simple sentence, ‘You win some, you lose some,’ was more than enough.



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