I’m here at the home of democracy. Forget about the House of Commons or 10 Downing Street - I’m at some sports hall at the University of Bedfordshire (sorry, it was raining when I came in so I didn’t take a note of the name).
Bedford Borough’s directly-elected mayoralty is up for grabs. Will Lib Dem Dave Hodgson retain his job? There’s been a yellow wave across the country so the portents could be good. But the Tory candidate Gianni Carofano has been very visible for many months if not longer.
Labour and The Greens were a little later in announcing their candidate, but both Jenni Jackson and Adrian Spurrell are well thought of. And of course the UKIP candidate is Adrian Haynes.
Updates will continue to appear to keep hitting refresh. The latest news will be at the top of the page.
19.55 AND ITS DAVE HODGSON AS MAYOR OF BEDFORD
19.53 So, more on Tom Wootton. He was one of the two possible Tory candidates for the mayoralty, and missed out on the nomination by literally a handful of votes.
He’s a borough councillor, a former county councillor, and a well-liked guy. If - and it is an ‘if’ - but if Gianni doesn’t take the mayoralty for the Conservatives this time then it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Tom go for it again in 2023.
19.52 Putnoe result:
Michael Headley and Max McMurdo won for the Lib Dems. Max is son of the deputy mayor Charles Royden.
AND A MAYORAL RESULT IS IMMINENT
19.49 The two mayoral candidates have been called up to see the council chief executive (who is also the returning officer for the count)
19.42 WYBOSTON RESULT: Tom Wootton - a bit of a local legend around these party - keeps his seat for the Tories
19.41 Independent Doug McMurdo keeps Sharnbrook!
19.38 RISELEY RESULT: Martin Towler (Con)
19.37 They’re coming thick and fast! Although not fast enough for my missus who was expecting me home a couple of hours ago...
19.35 Graeme Coombes wins Wilhamstead for the Tories.
And in Wootton it’s John Wheeler.
19.31 KINGSBROOK RESULT: The Lib Dems take both seats from Labour. Well done to Dean Crofts and Patrick Solomon
19.09 There’s no official result yet but some are already calling the mayoralty for Dave Hodgson, the Lib Dem’s third full term. The party are also set to become the largest group at Borough Hall. If I’m not mistaken, weren’t they outnumbered by both Labour and the Conservatives before today?
19.05 Great Barford result
Stephen Moon and Philippa Anne Martin-Moran-Bryant both win for the Conservatives
19.03 KEMPSTON SOUTH RESULT
Carl Meader (Labour) keeps his seat
19.01 AND HERE IT IS, THE SHOCK THAT ISNT A SHOCK IF YOU READ MY FEED EARLIER.
Lucy Bywayer and Ben Foley win both seats for the Greens. And if I’m not mistaken, these will be the first-ever Greens on Bedford Borough Council.
19.00 KEMPSTON CENTRAL AND EAST:
Mohammad Nawaz and Kay Burley hold the two seats for Labour.
18.58 OAKLEY RESULT Jon Abbott (Lib Dem) wins it. Previously an Independent seat.
18.48 Well I really wasn’t expecting that. We haven’t had the seismic shocks that have been seen elsewhere, but as the campaign has gone on I’ve only heard positive things on the ground about both Jade and Anthony. My best guess now would be a Lib Dem mayor and still a Lib-Lab pact, but the balance of power will shift towards the mayor’s own party.
Of course all of that goes out of the window if Gianni wins the mayoral race...
18.38 FIRST SHOCK OF THE NIGHT.
Former speaker Jade Uko and cabinet member Anthony Forth lose their seats. The Labour duo are replaced by Tim Cardwell and Christine McHugh (both Lib Dem). Christine is Mayor Dave’s wife btw.
18.36 KEMPSTON RURAL RESULT: A Conservative victory, courtesy of Jim Weir
18.36 BRICKHILL RESULT: Both Wendy Rider and Charles Roysen keep their seats for the Lib Dems
18.26 HARROLD RESULT
Alison Foster (Con) keeps her seat.
Bear with us, there will be some shocks soon, I promise.
18.25 HARPUR RESULT
Two Labour councillors return to Bedford Borough Council: Colleen Atkins and Louise Jackson
18.21 KEMPSTON WEST RESULT
James Valentine is in. The 2009 Labour mayoral candidate takes the seat.
18.20 Hey, I was right!
31.6% Gianni Carofano Conservative
35.2% Dave Hodgson, Lib Dem
And so we go to the second choice votes!
18.18 The gossip is that, yes, we’re going to a second vote and it will be Lib Dems vs Conservatives.
This is only the grapevine, so don’t hold me to it though.
17.52 An extended period of inaction. But the gossip is that a mayoral result is imminent.
17.33 Lib Dem Tim Hill (already elected in Stewartby and Elstow) is walking around trying to play it cool but you can tell he’s happy with the world and would secretly just like to break out into a skip. He looks delighted with the world. Honestly, I don’t live in his patch but if I did I might vote for him from now on just for that.
17.30: MAJOR UPDATE The media desk has now been provided with a tub of Haribo Supermix by the Bedford Borough Council press office. This is local democracy in action. Oh, and they’re having “the final initial verification of the mayoral election” on table... something. To be honest, I was kind of scoffing a load of Haribo when this was announced.
17.18: Well, no major surprises so far. Cauldwell was hard fought, but Labour kept both seats. Either the big shifts are yet to come, or it’ll be a story about subtle shifts of power.
That said, there have been some marked shifts in the size of Lib Dem majorities (I’ll do some number-crunching later).
Congrats to those who have won so far, commiserations to those who didn’t get the results that they wanted. Good luck to all the rest!
17.16: RESULT Jon Gambold and Roger Rigby hold Bromham and Biddenham for the Conservatives
17.13 ELECTION RESULT CAULDWELL WARD
Abu Sultan (Labour) and Foulia Zamir (Labour) won the two seats
17.11 ELECTION RESULT - DE PARYS held by two Lib Dem (David Sawyer and Henry Vann)
17.08 Mayor Dave Hodgson in upbeat form. To be fair, the results from elsewhere overnight may have played a part in this, but it’s a shift from when I’ve seen him in the months leading up to the election when he was very much of a “Don’t count your chickens until they’re hatched,” state of mind.
Must find a Tory to gossip with, all the mingling seems to have been with folks in red and yellow rosettes so far.
17.04: “Table Eight for Mayoral checking”. Nobody delivers those immortal words, to a crowded gym filled with political rivals, quite like council chief executive Phil Simpkins does.
OK, so I don’t know anyone else who says those words. Anyway, hopefully they mean that the count is making good progress.
17.01: Doug McMurdo seems in good spirits. We may still have an Independent councillor, in Sharnbrook! As ever Doug is not saying too much (he’s a discrete character in that respect), but if it’s true about the Greens in Castle then it’ll be a fair mix on the council.
16.54: ANOTHER PROVISIONAL RESULT Like all provisional results so far, this isn’t very exciting. Anyway, they’re all being called over to the De Parys table
16.50: If that Green result does come to pass in Castle then it’s massive. There’s been a steady reduction in councillors who aren’t one of the three main parties over the past decade on Bedford Borough; that said, if it was going to happen anywhere, it was probably going to be Castle given how often it’s changed hands over the years
16.48: CAULDWELL RESULT. Sort of. There’s a provisional result apparently, and the parties are being called over
16.32: ELSTOW AND STEWATBY RESULT: Tim Hill (Lib Dem) keeps his seat too
It’s like buses. You wait ages for a result and then they all come at once.
16.29: EASTCOTTS RESULT: Sarah Gallagher (Lib Dem) retains her seat in Eastcotts.
16.28 CLAPHAM RESULT: Jane Walker (Con) retains Clapham.
16.20: Well I never! The gossip (and it is only gossip right now) is that both Castle seats will be won by the Greens.
15.50: Gossip suggests things may be looking good for Labour in Kempston. This was one of the places we identified as a key battleground in our pre-election round-up.
15.47: We’re expecting a result for Clapham shortly.
15.42: A lovely chat with the outgoing Independent councillor Pat Olney. I refuse to believe she is now 79! I was too polite to ask how long she’s been representing Oakley but lets just say that she’s a local institution.
15.26: The guys from our rival newspaper have just spotted me checking the spelling of ‘Carofano’. Well, enough people have misspelt ‘Raza’ over the years so I feel the need to perpetually check such things!
15.22: The first announcement! We’re being told which table each ward’s count will be, um, counted on. Cue: Lots of movement.