2023 Local elections in Hertsmere – the results

Okay, let’s face it, the local elections are not the most glamorous in the calendar but they are, in some ways, the most relevant to our everyday lives.

Sign saying 'way in - polling station' printed on copier paper and stuck to the door of a polling station in the UK

(this post now updated with the results fron the 4 May local elections)

Turnout in local elections rarely exceeds half that seen for national elections and the big issues are always, of course, reserved for higher authorities but these local elections are about as close as ordinary electors get to the democratic process. There’s a decent chance you’ll know some of your local councillors and, once elected, they do have real power – especially in planning.

So here’s everything you need to know about the 4 May local elections in Hertsmere, including the results for Aldenham Parish Council and for the two Radlett wards in Hertsmere Borough Council.

Did you remember your ID?

This was the first election for which Britons were required to produce photo ID. Polling suggested that one in four voters didn’t know they needed ID before the elections and evidence is coming in that turnout was affected in a statistically significant way by the new requirements. Jacob Rees-Mogg, who was in the cabinet at the time the voter ID law was passed, says the new rules were a form of ‘gerrymandering’ (wrong word but we know what he means). This will make it harder to secure continued support for this and the governmemt may have to at least modify the acceptable ID list, which is the focus for unhappiness about this measure.

Which elections?

Here in Radlett, we voted in two elections, for Hertsmere Borough Council and for Aldenham Parish Council (there are no Hertfordshire County Council elections until 2025).

Map of the Hertsmere Borough Council electoral area from the MapIt web site
The Hertsmere Borough Council area

Hertsmere Borough Council consists of 16 wards; in Elstree and Borehamwood, Bushey, Potters Bar, Shenley and Aldenham (which is made up of Radlett and the small settlements of Letchmore Heath and Aldenham). Each ward returns either two or three councillors, for a total of 39. Aldenham is divided into two wards. Most of Radlett’s area, including the bustling downtown area, is in Aldenham East (map) and Aldenham West is mostly rural, stretching out to take in Aldenham, Letchmore Heath and the aerodrome (map). The Borough Council meets at the council offices in Borehamwood. From Radlett we send a total of four councillors to the Borough Council, two from each ward.

Borough councillors are not paid for their work but can claim an allowance – and it can be quite substantial. In 2020-21 (the most recent published year), for instance, Morris Bright MBE, leader of Hertsmere Borough Council and friend to the stars, received an allowance of £44,523 for his service to the Borough. Deputy Leader Caroline Clapper received £20,509.23 (details on the Hertsmere web site). You may also know Ms Clapper as Radlett’s County Councillor – she’s a hard-working representative for the Watling ward that takes in the whole of Radlett and Elstree. For that role she received an additional alowance of £22,607.04 in financial year 2022-23 (details on the HCC web site).

All Borough councillors can claim a basic allowance of £6,045 per year and there are additional payments for cabinet responsibilities, travel and so on, so a number of Labour and Liberal councillors will now be seeing a substantial increase in their allowances. The rules are on the Hertsmere web site.

Mayor of Hertsmere Borough Council Chris Myers in his ceremonial chain of office
Mayor Chris Myers

As a result of the elections, Hertsmere has a new Mayor – Labour Borough councillor Chris Myers. He and his deputy are of the old-fahioned, chain-bearing, ceremonial variety, though, elected by their fellow councillors, not the thrusting new kind of directly-elected Mayor. Councillor Chris Myers was chosen by other councillors at a meeting last week.

Official portrait of Councillor John Graham, Mayor of Hertsmere Borough Council in Hertfordshire, in his cermonial chain of office
John Graham

Previous Mayor John Graham was a long-serving Hertsmere Borough councillor from the Aldenham East ward and sat as a representative of Hertsmere Borough Council on Aldenham Parish Council, where he is Vice Chair to new Chair Helen Jones.

Map of the Aldenham Parish Council electoral area from the MapIt web site
The Parish of Aldenham

Aldenham Parish Council is divided into two wards and they are the same as the Borough Council wards – Aldenham East and Aldenham West. The Parish Council meets in the offices above Radlett library. In the Parish we elect a total of 12 councillors, six for each ward. Eight of these councillors are elected here in the Parish and four are appointed as representatives of Hertsmere Borough Council and Hertfordshire County Council.

The parties

Both of the councils in which we voted on 4 May are historically controlled by the Conservatives but Hertsmere has, for the first time in over 20 years, changed hands and is thus ‘no overall control’. The Conservatives are still the largest party but power will now be shared by Labour and the Liberal Democrats. Hertsmere now has a Labour leader and a Labour Mayor and Deputy.

The green surge in the local elections, which saw the Green Party’s representation grow by more than any other party in the local elections, did not touch Hertsmere but there are now Green councillors in neighbouring districts. The Green Party is benefiting from its ‘clean hands’ – they’re not touched by the Tories’ catastrophic national performance nor by ambivalence about Starmer’s careful triangulation, so some voters consider them an attractive option.

Hertsmere Borough Council is presently divided like so:

PartySeats
Conservative16
Labour (and Cooperative)14
Liberal Democrat9
39
Source: Wikipedia

All four of the Borough councillors returned from the two Radlett wards are still Conservatives and, let’s face it, will be until the end of time.

After the 2019 elections the picture looked very different:

PartySeats
Conservative29
Labour7
Liberal Democrat3
39
Source: Wikipedia

At the Parish level it’s simpler – all twelve councillors are Conservatives. Other parties do stand (see the lists below) and politics in Hertsmere is active and disputatious but, let’s be real, Radlett is a prosperous Home Counties town and is likely to be Tory forever.

Who was elected?

Here are all the candidates elected in the Parish and Borough Council elections on 4 May, starting with Hertsmere Borough Council. Incumbent candidates, re-elected at this election, are shown in bold.

Official portrait photo of property developer and Chair of the Aldenham Parish Council planning committee Mark Cherry
Mark Cherry, developer

Mark Cherry, who was an Aldenham Parish Councillor and Chair of the Council’s planning committee, stood down. Mister Cherry recently withdrew a planning application for a widely-opposed development of eight homes in the centre of Radlett. Jackie Lefton, Aldenham East Councillor and one-time Chair of the Parish Council, also stood down.

Hertsmere Borough Council, Aldenham East ward, 4 May 2023 (re-elected in bold)

CandidatePartyVotesElected?
Denton-Cardew, BenLib Dem311N
Goldman, Joshua Jack NathanLab179N
Howard, Stuart JohnLib Dem300N
Rosehill, Brett AshleyCon853Y
Selby, LucyCon967Y
Treves Brown, Julian PatrickLab167N
Source: Hertsmere Borough Council

Hertsmere Borough Council, Aldenham West ward, 4 May 2023 (re-elected in bold)

CandidatePartyVotesElected?
Al-Saadoon, Saif MadidLib Dem214N
Clapper, Caroline SaraCon882Y
Dhadra, Ronan DashLab171N
Huff, Sandra AnnLab200N
Lambert, David StephenCon752Y
May, JonLib Dem186N
Source: Hertsmere Borough Council

Aldenham Parish Council, Aldenham East ward, 4 May 2023 (re-elected in bold)

CandidatePartyVotesElected?
Ali, Sahil SinghCon853Y
Benjamin, Sandra RuthCon922Y
Graham, JohnCon955Y
Jones, HelenCon901Y
Rosehill, Romy MichelleCon860Y
Samuelson, EstelleCon973Y
Treves Brown, Julian PatrickLab396N
Source: Hertsmere Borough Council

Aldenham Parish Council, Aldenham West ward, 4 May 2023 (re-elected in bold)

CandidatePartyVotesElected?
Butwick, AnthonyCon758Y
Diskin, ClareCon753Y
Huff, Sandra AnnLab363N
Khawaja, SaleemCon646Y
Lambert, David StephenCon789Y
Nygate, Daniel WilliamCon671Y
Woolf, Carl ElliottCon729Y
Source: Hertsmere Borough Council

Previous elections

Here are the results of the 2019 elections, for our Hertsmere Borough Council seats and for Aldenham Parish Council. The councillors with a ‘Yes’ in the ‘Elected?’ were elected and you can learn more about them by clicking on their names.

Hertsmere Borough Council, Aldenham East ward, 2 May 2019

CandidatePartyVotesElected?
AI-Saadoon, Saif MadidLib Dem204N
Dickson, SueInd251N
Graham, JohnCon1,058Y
Harris, David JohnathanLab160N
Huff, Sandra AnnLab143N
Selby, LucyCon1,097Y
Turnout 40.28%
Source: Hertsmere Borough Council

Hertsmere Borough Council, Aldenham West ward, 2 May 2019

CandidatePartyVotesElected?
Clapper, Caroline SaraCon1,001Y
Kirk, Richard ArthurLab175N
Lambert, DavidCon845Y
Maizels, John HenryLab160N
Watson, PaulLib Dem197N
Turnout 33.2%
Source: Hertsmere Borough Council

Aldenham Parish Council, Aldenham East ward, 2 May 2019

CandidatePartyVotesElected?
Al-Saadoon, Tariq SaifLab214N
Bass, Diana MaryLab208N
de Skuba, PrzemekCon865Y (resigned January 2021)
Dogan, ZeynepLab201N
Harris, David JohnathanLab244N
Huff, Sandra AnnLab224N
Jones, HelenCon1,093Y
Khawaja, SaleemCon971Y
Kilhams, CatherineCon1,096Y
Lefton, JacquelinaCon1,109Y
Wickham, DermotCon1,082Y
Wood, LeeInd378N
Turnout 39.8%
Source: Hertsmere Borough Council

Aldenham Parish Council, Aldenham West ward, 2 May 2019

CandidatePartyVotesElected?
Cherry, MarkCon816Y
Evans, BenCon864Y
Kirk, Richard ArthurLab214N
Lambert, David StephenCon839Y
Maizels, John HenryLab210N
Pownall-Harris, Melanie FrancescaLab223N
Walton, Garry RobertCon792Y
Samuelson, EstelleCon831Y
Walton, Garry RobertCon845Y
Turnout 33.6%
Source: Hertsmere Borough Council

Meanwhile, would you like a professional Mayor?

Hertsmere could have a directly elected Mayor. In fact, any local authority at the District level or above can decide to have a directly-elected Mayor and it could be up to us, the electors.

A black and white photograph of a distinguished gentleman in robes and chain of office sitting on a throne, taken in about 1900 in Ireland. From the National Library of Ireland on Flickr
An OG Mayor

The government’s process for switching to an elected Mayor (this only applies in England) involves either a vote by the elected councillors or a referendum which would be held alongside a local election in the Borough. To trigger a referendum 5% of the electorate of the Borough must sign a petition – in Hertsmere that’s currently calculated to be 3,921 people. Don’t hold your breath, though. Elected Mayors are not popular. So far, most referendums held in England have voted ‘no’ and there are only three Borough Councils in England with elected Mayors – Bedford, Copeland and Watford.

Elected Mayors are professional, full-time administrators and the job attracts a salary. Watford’s Mayor is paid £73,607. The logic of switching to this more ‘Presidential’ model is that a professional Mayor, working for the area’s interests, can provide some additional visibility and prestige and advance the big causes. Elected Metro Mayors at the top level – Andy Street, Sadiq Khan, Andy Burnham etc. have brought some coherence to local government and raised the visibility of their cities and regions. It’s not at all certain that this would work at the town or district level, though.

This report from the House of Commons Library is an excellent overview, in case you’re thinking of gathering some signatures.

See also

Elections in Hertsmere – including general elections – are administered by the excellent elections team at Hertsmere Borough Council. They maintain the information web site and make sure that notices of elections, lists of candidates and results are posted online in a timely way. Most of the data in this post comes from their published documents.

Data. We’ve added all the numbers in this post to a public spreadsheet (Google Sheets). It also includes general election results, going back all the way to the first in Hertsmere, held when the constituency was created, in 1983. This data is all obtainable online, of course, but this is really the only place you’ll find it all in one document – feel free to download and use the data if you need it. There’s also a fantasically-useful open source spreadsheet of all the 2023 local election results.

Maps. You can find accurate maps of the Parish, Borough, County and Parliamentary constituencies on the MapIt web site, maintained by MySociety, the excellent not-for-profit that also runs the indispensible They Work For You.

History. Our post about Hertsmere elections covers the whole electoral history of the Parliamentary constituency.

What to expect from General Election day in Hertsmere

Polling station in New South Wales, Australia, in 1925First of all, if you live in Radlett and can vote, do complete our one-minute survey about local issues influencing Radlett voters. We’ve done this before and it produces lots of useful insight. It’ll be online until 5pm today and we’ll share the results this evening.

We essentially already know the result of the 2017 General Election in our constituency, Hertsmere. It’s the 103rd safest seat in the country for the Conservatives. Only an gigantic electoral earthquake could unseat Conservative incumbent Oliver Dowden so, for Hertsmere, it’s all about the details:

Will Oliver Dowden improve on his 2015 majority of 36.9%? His majority was very close to his predecessor James Clappison’s in 2010 but he had managed to improve his party’s share by more than 3% over 2010.

Will the post-Brexit political ferment increase turnout from 2015’s 67.9%, which was itself up from 64.7% in 2010? National turnout for the 2015 General Election was 66.1%, up over the previous three General Elections but still substantially down on the average for the second half of the 20th Century, when over 70% of the population showed up to vote every time. Some pollsters are projecting a big increase in turnout, thanks to a rush of enthusiasm from young people enthused by Jeremy Corbyn. We’ll see.

Can the Liberal Democrats’ candidate Joe Jordan possibly improve on his party’s disastrous 2015 Hertsmere performance – 2,777 votes, down 11.8 ooints on 2010? 2015 was an especially bad year for the Liberals, for reasons you’ll probably remember, but many think the party has badly miscalculated the electorate’s interest in re-running the Brexit vote. This may even reduce the Lib Dems’ share.

Will UKIP’s vote, which was 6,383 or a 12.7% share in 2015 (over three times the party’s 2010 vote) shrink sharply as it is expected to nationally?

Can Labour’s Fiona Smith overcome the concerns of Hertsmere’s Jewish community, on antisemitism and the party’s position on Israel? She’s been working hard to do so in the constituency but with Labour’s share in 2015 at not much more than a third of the Tory vote, it’s not looking good.

And will the return of The Greens to the fray, with Sophie Summerhahyes, who only joined the party in 2015, further reduce Labour and the Lib Dems’ share in the constituency?

We’ll share the Hertsmere result here and on Twitter and Facebook as soon as we have it. The count, at Allum Lane Community Centre in Borehamwood, is always well organised so we’re expecting a fairly early result. Also on Twitter, the Borehamwood Times and the press team at Hertsmere Borough Council will also be providing election news overnight.

Your Hertsmere candidates are:
Oliver Dowden, Conservative.
David Hoy, UKIP @1DavidHoy
Joe Jordan, Liberal Democrats @GeekofHearts.
Fiona Smith, Labour @Fiona4Hertsmere.
Sophie Summerhahyes, Green Party @Barber_Sophie.

Here’s our detailed analysis of the 2016 referendum vote and of the 2015 General Election vote in Hertsmere.

Radlett’s EU referendum vote in context

Hertsmere EU Referendum 2016 results comparison

It was, let’s face it, a surprise. As late as the close of polling on Thursday bookmakers were still offering 7/1 on Brexit (that’s a 12.5% probability). The opinion polls weren’t too far off for this vote but still gave Remain a small lead.

Our polling district, Hertsmere, voted Leave by a margin of 1.6% (50.8 – 49.2%), putting the district 262nd of the 382 polling districts – meaning that 261 districts, or 68% of the total, had larger majorities for Leave.

The table, which uses data from the BBC web site, puts Hertsmere in the context of its immediate neighbours and confirms what we essentially already know about the vote in England. London, and a handful of other urban districts, voted Remain, while prosperous suburbs, rural areas and struggling towns voted Leave. The three London boroughs to Radlett’s South voted Remain and all of our other neighbours outside London (except St Albans) voted Leave.

For comparison, I’ve included London itself and the constituency with the largest Leave vote – Boston in Lincolnshire – and the one with the largest Remain vote – Lambeth (I’ve excluded the obvious outlier, Gibraltar, where all but 823 people voted to remain).

It’s difficult to know how Radlett itself voted. The referendum poll – unlike general elections – is not broken down by ward and, of course, there’s no such thing as a ‘safe seat’ in a referendum. Every vote counts. Thanks to Martin Rosenbaum at the BBC, though, we do know how the good people of Shenley voted. He used FOI requests to get referendum voting data at the ward level from all the UK local authorities that collected it. So, although it’s not clear why Hertsmere reported voting for Shenley and not the other wards, we are fairly sure that Shenley voted Remain. Our own opinion poll of local voters gave a small win to Remain.

And incidentally, the Radlett margin predicted by our poll (which closed on the morning of the referendum) was exactly the same as the actual margin achieved by Remain in critical North East district Newcastle upon Tyne – the first mainland seat declared and the one that got Remainers sweating because it came in below the number suggested by the BBC model.

Radlett Wire EU referendum poll results graphic

Some local people are clearly in shock – especially those whose jobs depend on the financial sector. Others are celebrating. Were you surprised by the result? Do you think we’ve made a terrible mistake? Or is this, as Nigel Farage puts it, a ‘new dawn’ for Britain? Leave a comment below (anonymously if you like) and we’ll share your reactions here, on Facebook and on Twitter.

The Guardian and the BBC both have excellent detailed analysis of the national results.

Lord Ashcroft’s detailed polling, published the day after the referendum, is essential reading.

Police and crime commissioner – no surprises but a big increase in turn-out

David Lloyd, Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire, standing in front of a Hertfordshire Police signConservative David Lloyd has been re-elected. Most people don’t know who their Police Commissioner is and surveys have shown that many have no idea what they do. Something’s obviously changed in Hertfordshire, though, because turn-out for the vote more than doubled, from a disastrous 14.5% in 2012 to an almost creditable 29% this year – and that’s in a year with no local authority elections to boost the vote.

None of the candidates secured 50% of the vote in the first round so counting went to a second round, in which Lloyd beat the Labour candidate Kerry Pollard 126,069 votes to 85,854. Chris White, the Liberal candidate, came third, with 38,488 of first round votes. The UKIP candidate, who is a financial adviser to ‘professionals and the comfortably well-off’ in Royston, came dead last.

How you voted

Screenshot of Hertsmere general election result from BBC web site, 8 May 2015It was never going to be the most exciting of elections for us in Hertsmere. No earthquake for us. It’s a Conservative hold, of course (as it is across Hertfordshire). And the Hertsmere numbers tell the national story pretty well. Conservative, Labour and Ukip all saw increases, both in absolute numbers and in share of the vote. And the source of those extra votes? The Lib Dems, by and large (an increased turn-out also helped – it was 65% in 2010). Share of the vote for the party whose candidate was reportedly too busy to campaign fell by a wapping 11.8% to 5.5% (2,777 votes – she’s just retained her deposit) The biggest gainer was Ukip, whose share jumped by 9.1%. Ukip candidate Frank Ward polled more than twice as many votes as Sophie Bowler (6,383). For Hertsmere, there’s the story.

Stay tuned for the Hertsmere borough and Aldenham parish election results, which we should have from about 4pm today.