Harlow District Council Elections 2023: Winners and losers..a personal reflection

Elections / Sat 6th May 2023 at 07:45pm

THESE are our final thoughts on the Harlow District Council elections of 2023. This is very much a personal reflection on events over the last month as well as looking to the next eighteen months and the next round of district elections as well as the General Election.

The Conservatives

They have retained control of Harlow Council. That is the bottom line. They get another year to push forward their plans for the town.

They gained a seat in Staple Tye to make that ward now all blue. That is quite a feat in the current climate when across the country they lost over 1,000.

However, the number of votes polled is steadily going down

2021: 11,805

2022: 8,925

2023: 6,675

The victory was a personal vindication for the council leader Russell Perrin. He is a philosophical politician and will now doubt aim to spend the next twelve months doing his best for the town. If things change, then he will say he give it his best.

He will then, once again. leave it in the hands of the electorate.

The boundary changes will mean that all 33 seats are up. Who knows where we will be in May 2024 but the Tories will find candidates and then they will give it another shot. The way the boundaries are set up, it is all to play for.

This matters not a jot to the public but there is clearly something not quite right about their internal discipline but that is for another day.

Looking forward to Tom Compton standing next year. Love to the family.



Their vote is pretty consistent.

2021: 7,228

2022: 7,182

2023: 7,041

It still leaves them out of power for another year. Another year, in which they will no doubt continue to be an excellent opposition at every level.

However, having said that, you do wonder what their bosses at regional and national level think of this performance?

You can almost imagine this comment in football pundit, Roy Keane’s voice: “Over 1,000 Tory seats lost across the country and over in Harlow they lose a ward and their number of votes go down? Unbelievable”

Having said that, the wards they lost in 2021 are coming back. They lost Mark Hall by 494 in 2021. This year, Aiden O’Dell won by 303.

There were a number of candidates who worked their socks off but there were also a number that were missing in action.

It is by no means certain, that they will get back in power in May 2024. There are a number of tweaks to wards that could make it all very interesting. But they will fancy their chances.

They may also say that judging them in 2023 is like coming to conclusions after the third lap of a 1500 metre race.

What Labour need to do is grow their numbers. They claim to have close to 500 members but on a any given weekend there only seems to be Chris Vince and a hardy half dozen.

Someone needs to get membership by the scruff of the neck in the same way that cllr James Griggs has got discipline.

There is still something very 1970s down with that sort of thing about Harlow Labour.

Down in Tilbury, a nineteen-year-old has just been elected. Cici Manwa ran a great campaign aided by friends and family. Harlow Labour need to find their CiCi’s.


The Greens

We said that last year we treated them like a non-league football team on a good run in the FA Cup.

That was then, this is now.

This must be a disappointing result. They polled 1779 in 2022. They polled 1534 in 2023. Both co-leaders saw their votes drop although Yasmin Gregory still polled over 300 in Old Harlow.

The Green vote still feels very volatile around the country. Gains in Mid-Suffolk but wipe out in Brighton.

But they will be having a peek

The 1534 people who voted Green in Harlow deserve representation. How they get enough people to vote for them in Harlow is a tough ask. You feel we are heading to a General Election, where Harlow residents will be mainly thinking Blue or Red.

It looks a lot of fun to be part of Harlow Greens. They are now a vital part of our political eco-system and they will no doubt be looking at Green gains around the edges of Harlow and see potential.


Harlow Alliance Party

Just 455 votes between three candidates is not a great return.

If we were HAP, we would call it a day.

We don’t want then to call it a day. We really value them.

They are inspirational. The fact that month after month, the attend council meetings and hold the council to account is fantastic. Perhaps the other 93,000 residents could start doing that.

Harlow residents have seen them do that and been inspired. Five Acres is an example.

We think they should re brand and start a Harlow Residents Party. Field a full slate of candidates and model themselves on Loughton or Residents for Uttlesford.

Reform UK

Across the country, the last UKIP councillors lost their seats. Think the ship has sailed here. Mark Gough polled 111 votes in Mark Hall. He may be back for the General Election. We will see.


Yes, the turnout was pretty poor but we are not surprised. We tend to think there should be district elections every four years.

It is important to appreciate how few campaigners there are out there. Both sides have maybe a dozen people covering a town of 100,000.

They have websites, social media pages as well as leaflets. We interviewed candidates from all the parties. You’v never had so much access to information.

We applaud each and every person who puts themselves forward to stand for elected office.

We respect every councillor who attends council, cabinet, committees etc.

Nearly every single councillor and campaigner we know in Harlow is different. From Jodi Dunne to Mike Garnett. From Nick Taylor to Yasmin Gregory.

The only people who are the same are the people who say they are all the same.

Well done to all who stood.

See you next year..unless there is a by-election of course…..

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6 Comments for Harlow District Council Elections 2023: Winners and losers..a personal reflection:

Nicholas Taylor
2023-05-07 09:13:33

Sad to say the only Party that really won last week was the Apathy Party. Clearly most of the hundreds of people who rely on the foodbank each week, who complain about pot holes, who complain about Council service and those working for HTS who are on strike did not come out and vote otherwise the Conservatives would not have ended up actually gaining a seat on the Council. What has happened around the rest of the Country, indeed nearby in Hertfordshire, provides the evidence that a growing number of people realise that a vote for Conservative or Labour means that nothing will change for the better.

Kim Oconnor
2023-05-07 10:21:30

Well said Nicholas. And the voting ID Needs to be scrapped. Lots were turned away. Lots of elderly don't have a computer, or know anything about going on line. I went to vote on line, never received email. Seriously shutting down democracy.

David Forman
2023-05-07 10:37:35

Chris Vince will have the humbling experience at the next Eastern Region Labour conference of being one of the very few Labour Group leaders not to have taken a seat off the Tories. Maybe, more time spent being a leader and less time spent promoting himself would bring results.

gary roberts
2023-05-07 11:34:55

Mr. Casey you failed to mention the complacency and smugness of Cllr. Perrin. The leader who has failed my community along with his colleagues. Integrity is missing. As regards the Labour opposition I suspect your assessment of them is factually correct and relevant but with a national leader who is more light blue than red I don't believe things will change in this town for a fair time. And the losers as always are the people of Harlow.

John Wright
2023-05-09 09:28:00

Pity Churchill is still a a Councilor. Reporting someone to the police for emailing him and getting them a verbal police warning. Waste of space

Peter Smith
2023-05-09 09:29:27

Pity Churchill is still a a Councilor. Reporting someone to the police for emailing him and getting them a verbal police warning. Waste of space

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