Harlow Labour leader Chris Vince makes abrupt departure after failing to regain control of council

News / Fri 3rd May 2024 at 07:23am

WE along with all the other assembled media were hoping to interview Harlow Labour leader Chris Vince after all the results were announced.

But it appeared that he had, to coin a phrase, left the building.

No explanation as for his sudden departure was offered.

So it was left to Netteswell councillor James Griggs to face the music.

Labour were trying to put a brave face on things but the sense of disappointment was palapable.

We imagine that after the very high profile visit of Sir Keir Starmer on Wednesday, there will be serious questions asked from head office over why Labour failed to regain the council.

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50 Comments for Harlow Labour leader Chris Vince makes abrupt departure after failing to regain control of council:

2024-05-03 07:47:05

Labour failed as they have no policies and people remember the years they were in charge and the town declined. The labour party in Harlow are like over grown student activists everything is the tories fault but they propose no plans, it is simple as that. Dan Swords has an energy about him I think people have given him a chance to finish what he started. If he can do that he will be a shining and rapidly rising star in the conservative party.

2024-05-03 07:51:49

Labour need to stop with the negative politics and trolling the comments section of yourharlow. Forget what’s happening on the national level, and tell us what you’re going to do locally and differently. Labour cannot get people out to vote, as all they’ve done is whinge and moan about the tories, even their own supporters can’t be bothered with getting out. Stop the negativity and the bickering on news comments sections. It’s utterly pointless bringing the hard hitters like starmer to Harlow if all you do is get them at an organised event with your own supporters. Get them out too on the door step meeting people and businesses and tell us what you’ll do for Harlow. The whole country is going red, but not here, so something needs to change in the approach.

2024-05-03 07:56:29

They failed because they had no plan, they failed because they didn’t help Harlow when they were in control of the council in the past. I expect Dan (if you’re reading this) to live up to the promises you have made. You have been given a chance to prove that we the public did the right thing in voting for you. Chris Vince, stop being such a child about losing, you didn’t help yourself by not submitting a council budget for one…what did you expect? All talk and no action this is the problem. Maybe next time you might stand a chance if you can prove yourself to the wider public that you do have a “can do” attitude. Harlow might be held by conservatives however I’m not so sure about a conservative government and what our current prime minister is doing to us people.

2024-05-03 07:57:48

Sore Loser. Not having an alternative budget was Labour's downfall .

2024-05-03 08:01:34

Chris Vince needs to resign.

2024-05-03 08:11:12

They lost because they did absolutely nothing for Harlow when they had power. Also the constant mud slinging makes them look childish,then again stamping your feet and storming off is precisely the type of behaviour I expect from a childish labour party. I must add that I am not a conservative fan but they have done more locally than labour ever did. I hope they fulfill their obligations to genuine Harlow people and their families.

David Forman
2024-05-03 08:22:45

That's what happens when the Labour Group leader counts his chickens back in February when he confidently predicted Labour would take control of the council. Vince's strategy of not doing an alternative budget, ducking the challenge of a hustings until pressured to do so and a poor personal performance at the hustings added up to a poor result. Also, let's not forget Vince scuppered a people's choice in a consultation that wanted elections at four-yealy intervals and today's result proves why he wrecked that.

Brian Aston
2024-05-03 10:05:32

I think you are all being unfair on Cllr Vince. Maybe it is as simple s he has to work today?

2024-05-03 10:18:55

what work he always walking the streets prehaps he will get a job now

Matt M
2024-05-03 10:20:58

Agree with the Adam & Lostinthemiddle, I had about 6 Conservative fliers through my door showing their plans (wish there was a more sustainable method of doing this), but only 1 from Labour that summarised as "tories are rubbish, vote labour"... no policies, utterly useless comms. Website is no better, the attitude is so negative and uninspiring, completely not what the Labour movement is meant to be about. A disappointing result but hard to see how it would be different without significant change in Harlow Labour's comms and strategy. Don't they want to win?!

2024-05-03 10:21:42

Always astounds me why the peoppe of Harlow vote conservative, not so much in the local elections but definitely in the national. I mean its not a high wage, high asset yield place. I wonder if people who do vote Conservative could enlighten me as to which actions, policy or manifeso items they think benefit them?

Samuel Jack
2024-05-03 10:43:24

Hoorah! Dan Swords and his team get to finish what they started! Even with a media stunt of Starmer and Rayner appearing the day before in Harlow couldn't prove that Harlow is much better under a 'tory council!' Councillors who actually get things started and make things happen!

2024-05-03 10:46:32

Tory comment section. Unfortunately with a poor turn out and only older voters voting only one result.

2024-05-03 10:52:39

Unfortunstely the well funded by property speculators environmentally unfriendly election garbage the Tories put through front doors appropriately pictures a wrecking demolition machine that reflects exactly what the Tory policies are set on doing to Harlow. Do we really want the town centre dominated by 16 story high rise flats that'll be filled by people dumped there from London Boroughs, countined mismanagement of Council house repairs and impeding traffic gridlock? If the Tories want to rebuild our town centre start by restoring the market in Market Square by the next local elections, it's what the people of Harlow have been asking for year after year. It's not rocket science but I suggest a bellwether of the ability and competence of the party.

Guy Flegman
2024-05-03 11:42:01

Not hanging around for the press after is simply bad form and lets the public know they made the right choice. Clearly he does not seem to be the right man for the job. It’s also strange that no one is talking about the elephant in the room which is the low turnout.

2024-05-03 12:03:54

If Harlow Labour wants to win at the next General Election, they really need to spend some time on self-reflection. Stop blaming everyone else for their problems, actually come up with some policies, get a leader with some vision and enthusiasm and not a disinterested, uninspiring, serial failure (his performance at the Hustings was truly shocking). If not, expect the electorate of Harlow to buck the trend and re-elect a Conservative despite the national vote going to Labour.

Nick Gunning
2024-05-03 12:13:03

So we're stuck with a council that uses lies and distortions and the language of a school playground. "Labour has no plan???" Tories have plans which they're incapable of delivering. Until a tory develops a conscience and changes sides, we have potholes going back to boadicea, hiked rents, contracting out to chums doing poor jobs etc. What are they offering for another 8% increase in ctax and housing rents? Maybe bins that sing opera? More plastic decorations to hide vacant shops, windswept soviet style squares and a decimated health service- business as usual

2024-05-03 12:22:13

Labour in the run up to the election really were poor, Chris Vince screwed up at the hustings by turning up when ill but did nothing to redeem himself. The irony is that I am pleased that our council remains tory but in a few months time will be voting for him because the national conservatives, for me, are a spent force.

Jacqueline Turner
2024-05-03 12:29:12

28% of voters only not a great turn out

Brian Aston
2024-05-03 12:34:28

It is going to be a busy time for Cllr Vince. Harlow's Elected MP and a local councillor. Or will he stand down as a local councillor? And if he does stand down, how much with a by-election cost the tax payers of Harlow?

Hey Big Spender
2024-05-03 13:32:55

Nick Gunning - potholes are the responsibility of Essex County Council Highways Department. Let us see what transpires with regard to making Harlow a great place to live and work. I hope we have a town centre worth visiting. The retail offering we currently have is hardly worth getting out of bed for. Regarding the market, yes, it would be lovely to have a decent market again…but markets themselves have changed these days. Some people want artisan/craft stalls, they’re not happy with a bit of fruit and veg, or clothes. Now if a place like Romford no longer has a decent market, what chance does anywhere else have? Romford market was the best in Essex.

2024-05-03 13:36:03

Read so many comments by Chris Vince on this site, moaning about the conservatives all the time, if you are going to moan that’s ok, but try telling your voters what you would have done alternatively Chris, the country is full of people whinging but when asked what they would do instead they carry on with the same gibberish. Labour needs to have a manifesto which they can deliver to get peoples votes back, I’m afraid when Bill Rammel was in charge, the town went downhill rapidly between the years of 1997 and 2010 and Robert Halfon has tried to bring it back up. Lived here for a long time to know what’s happened to our town.

2024-05-03 13:45:30

Why don’t they sort their paving out. Just got soaked up the leg from a lose paving slab on way to a job. There’s dangerous protruding slabs all over the place.

Patricia Mountsteven
2024-05-03 14:14:43

No one here seems to have acknowledged that the local Labour Party gained four more Council seats at the expense of the Tories. The political margin is now very close at one seat. I have lived in this town since 1964 and witnessed many progressive and truly beneficial changes and achievements spearhead by the Labour Councillors. The mud slinging against them is simply political brainwashing.

2024-05-03 14:23:41

Patricia, you could enlighten us all with what the Labour Party has done locally for the town since you have been here from 1964. I don’t personally have an allegiance to any party, some people stick to the same party all their lives like it was a football team they were supporting.

Pete Falk
2024-05-03 14:34:32

@resident. Ron Bill wrote a book about what Labour did for the town during the 60's through to the late 80's. it's a fascinating read. there's a copy of it in the library.

2024-05-03 15:00:09

Congratulations to Dan Sword he certainly played an ace game despite being hamstrung by the atrocious antics of a Conservative government. Like the Mayor of Teeside Dan concentrated on local issues whereas Labour relied on attacking the Government's record and saying there is a black hole in the local budget, without really saying what they would do locally in a way that is relevant to local people. Although I live in an area that always returns a strong Conservative majority I still want to hear what Labour have to say. One leaflet through my door is hardly setting out your stall and what is the point of bringing in Starmer and Rayner and then hiding them away in the Pinnacles? Locally labour needs to take a close look at what went wrong as do the central Labour party if they want to win control of Harlow Council and the Government.

2024-05-03 15:06:43

Brian Aston, Cllr Vince may have had work to go to? That was said tongue in cheek right? I'm sure he would've stuck around had Labour won control of the council. Nationally the Tories have taken a pounding, but at a local level, they are listening to residents and delivering more than Labour did. I think that minimised the inevitable swing, and allowed them to hold on to overall control. My concern is understanding what is the definition of 'putting Harlow people first'? Is it us tax paying individuals and their families who have seen the town lose its identity over the years, or is it anyone who is currently living in Harlow? I'd love to know, as would my two teenage kids, who would like to know if they've got a hope in hell of getting a council property? That was a rhetorical question, I know they are way down the pecking order. Having lived in Harlow for over 50 years, I have seen the wastefulness past Labour councils have practiced, so dread the day they get their hands on running the council again. I would say leopards don't change their spots, but they do. The Tory party is not the Tory party of old, just some wishy washy centre ground party. Rishi, grow some balls, or step aside for Boris. Finally, I want to thank the candidates from Harlow Alliance Party, they got my vote. They seem to really have the town at heart, and not just paying lip service. Wasn't it the HAP who prevented the 20+ houses going up by Harlow Crem a few years ago? The Tories may have taken credit, but wasn't it HAP who kicked up a fuss in the first place? Anyway, HAP keep on going.

Pete rawlinson
2024-05-03 15:15:17

I never voted as a protest against tory immigration failures, to me they are all the same,tories probobly slightly less bad than labour.

2024-05-03 15:23:34

Simon . We are not all out of work , there are more people that earn a decent living than not in Harlow

James Gamble
2024-05-03 15:39:00

What do the Tories have to do to be thrown out in Harlow? Hospital promised 13 years ago, not built. School built one year and pulled down the next. Roads only fit for off road vehicles. Parking non-existent. A town center more like a demolition site. A town full of no go areas, unsafe for people to walk the streets. Nothing for children and young adults to do but roam the streets at nights. I ask you. Unbelievable!

2024-05-03 15:41:40

1 the propution off council tax or Harlow l believe has not gone up its the rest that has gone up like policeing/fire service which Harlow council is not in control off so we're does this 8% come from and people have short memories whot about the money Harlow residence got back when conservites council was elected l was born here 1959 lived here all my life labour council has wasted money left right and centre they could not even put there address on my wards ballot paper so we're do l write to to complain as they did not canvers haven't a clue who they are relie on k. Starmer visit corban visit my next door neighbour years ago wanted to ark him why local labour party wasted so much money but had more respect for my neighbour. But that was the days we got our roads resurfaced in October because the council had to use their budget stop moaning labour start working with the Conservatives get Harlow back were it should be and hold Essex highways accountabe any that's enough from me well done the labour councilers who got elected but you still lost and no matter how you look at it a loss is a loss from the Conservatives thanks for competing for conservites who got elected well done but don't be complacent we are waiting you 👀👀👀

Harlow Lifer
2024-05-03 15:55:36

There seems to be a lot of confusion in the comments section about local councils and national government. They are not the same thing so please understand what you are saying when commenting. On a national government level the cons are finished but at local council we have probably the best leader Harlow has ever had. Get behind Mr swords as he has a lot offer the town.

Steve T
2024-05-03 16:03:42

Give it a month and a Tory councillor will be suspended lol

Vote for me
2024-05-03 16:06:10

Not one labour leaflet was belivered in church langley prior to the elections the conservatives flooded Church langly with their proposals what they had achieved and planning for the future etc 55 votes could have been made but labour obviously thought all church langly residents vote tory

2024-05-03 16:09:05

Simon, my experience is that most people do not change the way they vote. The tory voters glibly say "labour will be worse". The shadow of Corbyn features strongly as a guy who is not really for our country. So, I guess that the party who wants to win has to appeal to people like me who weigh up the issues and decide, 15% of the electorate perhaps. Of course, what I perceive as a positive may well be a negative for someone else. We should consider ourself fortunate that we have a choice unlike eg Russians.

Harlow Debunker
2024-05-03 16:19:16

The overconfidence of conservative supporters attacking Chris Vince is quite amusing. His name wasn't on my ballot paper, so Tory loyalists are pretending to be ordinary citizens and exaggerating the situation here. However the loss of five councillors for the Tories to Labour is significant; the Tories now have just one more councillor, which benefits Labour. Furthermore with such a slender majority, the political situation have improved for Labour. It's likely that Harlow will follow the national trend next year, even with some working-class voters siding with the Conservatives, as they're known to here.

Tanya Witham
2024-05-03 16:56:26

Labour failed because some of their Mps are not very nice People. English People have fell out of love for the Labour Party,they are not for the working class people no more.Also people do not want open borders!.People are sick to the Teeth with Labour and Tories all they do is take ,take take and never give ,And when you Look at Mayor Khan and what he has done to our Capital he's taxed the poor with hes Disgusting Ulez tax and is trying to charge pet mile now.Then they wonder why Labour lost,God help us any more like Mayor Khan .We are taxed enough in this country and were sick of it,sick of paying taxes for an overpopulated country that gives us basic services back from all our hard work .Listen to what the people ate saying Labour and Tories .We have had enough you all need gone ASAP.

2024-05-03 17:14:19

These two were in Harlow this week. https://cdn.images.express.co.uk/img/dynamic/139/590x/secondary/5179685.avif?r=1706113365717

Les Bayliss
2024-05-03 17:16:01

Not surprised he left. Being very disappointed no doubt. Being nice don't win elections. The Tories continue to lie and mislead to hold onto power. They need calling out and Labour supporters want to see and hear it. Halfron has been a disaster for Harlow and will leave us in debt and he will blame everyone else. The lack of funding for our hospital and provision of housing for local people is appalling. Roll on the General Election !!

2024-05-03 17:44:41

I am a neutral voter in the sense that there is no party completely worthy of running our Council. Tories I felt got it just and the results proved that. 33 seats available 17/16 couldn't be closer. Perhaps the Tories deserved a bigger majority because they are getting long awaited financial help and it's being used in the right areas. Labour ran the council for years wasting millions on whims and fads, what got my goat was the waste of £700,000 on accountants and architects regarding the old Lister house surgery Perry Rd. Now the Tories need to pull their finger out and get the apartments built if their serious about homes for Harlow people

2024-05-03 20:47:30

Harlow Debunker, I dont think there are elections next year so the tories have got 2 years. If they get it right, and labour win the GE one would expect them to win more seats (often the party in power in govt loses seats)

2024-05-03 21:46:29

I think to walk out is not very gentlemanly and I would always think a little less of people who do walk out when lost - even tho I can understand disappointment. Perhaps Vince isn't right for the job.. Even tho am a life long Labour supporter (as I value the NHS) and this also is how I vote locally, I've said for a while now that Labour cannot run a campaign and expect to win, simply because they are 'not the conservatives'. That kind of complacency doesn't work. In Old Harlow I had 4 different leaflets from the Cons, promising the earth - which only time will tell if they keep their promises - and 1 small leaflet from Labour, mentioning the black hole in finances that Harlow Cons have left. I understood tories have more money, but quality, not quantity would've worked perhaps.. Where were the canvassers? Yeah, may be a tory ward, but without coming and talking to people there is no hope in changing minds. Shame. A bit more effort and who knows, may have been a different result.

Guy Flegman
2024-05-04 09:22:42

Maybe Chris left to attend “ Join Reverend Christian Okeke for a conversation on grieving” as advertised else where I this fine publication.

Harlow Debunker
2024-05-04 17:30:38

Hello Boris, out of Johnson, Yeltsin, and the Spider, I am hoping you're the latter, as a 'Who' fan myself. I think Harlow has once again fallen short of its reputation. Firstly, there were false beliefs about the council tax being excessively high; in reality, it was the Conservative-led Essex County Council that increased the council tax. The primary reason for this is the privatization of social care, which has led to unchecked price hikes and declining standards, making it the largest burden on the council tax.Harlow residents metaphorically undermined themselves because the Tories also reduced Harlow's already modest council tax revenues, freezing it, resulting in a lower budget, and a £10 million borrowing debt. oh and so remiss of me yes 2 years of dread, but hopefully the tory tendency to nefarious racial viewpoints, and tempt of hand to the till of public funds, might just make it sooner.

2024-05-05 08:18:54

As for publicity: What did we need paper flyers for further explanations of what parties were offering to do for us? None from Labour arrived on our door step in my area, but too many from the Conservatives. Why wasting money on this? It did not influence me and did not make any difference on how I cast my vote.

Tony Wiseman
2024-05-05 08:21:30

Sue, paving repairs come under the county council, you can report the problem at https://www.essexhighways.org/tell-us/problem-check

Tony Wiseman
2024-05-05 08:58:51

There has been much comment in YH about the situation with James Leppard and his eligibility to hold office. Surely we must now ask the same question of Cllr Vince? The electorate of Harlow need to understand if his leaving the counting house on realising that Labour had not gained control of Harlow was umbrage, illness or for another understandable reason. If it is umbrage then the Labour party, both locally and nationally, need to ask if he really is the best person to go forward as their candidate for the General Election?

2024-05-05 12:14:15

Tony Wiseman makes a good point. Labour with an historic 20+ points lead in the polls, Labour gains across the country, yet even bringing out the big guns of Starmer and Raynor and a legion of helpers, Vince still failed for the third year running. Labour's vote in Harlow has hardly changed and the Tories increased. Vince needs to go. If people don't want him to lead the Council he has got no chance as MP. He is a loser!

2024-05-05 14:41:04

Chris Vince reminds me of Baldrick in Black Adder, with his cunning plan!!! Although Baldrick is better dressed and has a higher IQ.

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