LABOUR may have retained control of Bradford Council in this week’s local elections, but the big story was the huge number of independent candidates winning seats – with some unseating prominent Councillors.

After the results were announced on Friday, Labour had 49 Councillors on the 90 seat Council – down from 53 before the vote.

They needed to keep at least 46 to retain a majority.

Asian Image: Independent candidates had a day to remember in the Bradford Council local electionsIndependent candidates had a day to remember in the Bradford Council local elections (Image: T&A)

Independents won in many of Bradford’s inner-city wards, capitalising on dissatisfaction with how the national Labour party has handled the war in Gaza.

After the count, 13 seats in the Council chamber now belong to Independents – meaning they have as many seats as the Conservatives in Bradford.

Among the Independent winners was former Bradford East MP David Ward, who regained the Bolton and Undercliffe seat he lost in 2021.

Labour Councillor Si Cunningham lost his seat to the former Lib Dem MP.

Asian Image: Councillor Si Cunningham, a prominent voice in Bradford in recent years, lost his seat Councillor Si Cunningham, a prominent voice in Bradford in recent years, lost his seat (Image: T&A)

Other Labour Councillors to lose their seat included Abdul Jabar, the Neighbourhoods and Community Safety Portfolio holder on the Council’s Executive and now former Great Horton Councillor.

The Greens also performed well, gaining seats in Craven and Ilkley.

In Ilkley Green candidate Ros Brown was elected, unseating Ilkley Independent Councillor Anne Hawksworth, one of the longest serving Councillors in the District.

Green Party Leader Matt Edwards retained his Tong seat. When asked what issues he had heard on the doorstep, he said: “People recognise hard working local Councillors and are fed up with the mainstream parties taking their votes for granted. They are fed up with places like Holme Wood and Bierley being forgotten about.”

Asian Image: The tense moments before the results were announced The tense moments before the results were announced (Image: T&A)

Councillor Luke Majkowski of the Bradford South Independent Group retained his seat in Queensbury. He spoke of similar dissatisfaction with the Labour leadership, saying: “People are sick of Queensbury becoming a money pit for Bradford Council. They are fed up of having services striped time and time again. People are upset and think their money is being pumped into the city centre.”

Conservatives will be disappointed to have lost three seats, meaning there are now just 13 Conservative Councillors in Bradford District.

The Liberal Democrats kept the seats they held, but made no new gains. They still have just five Councillors and are the fifth biggest party if Independents are included.

Asian Image: The tense moments as the votes were countedThe tense moments as the votes were counted (Image: T&A)

Despite the loss of some seats, Labour gained others in Keighley and Wyke.

After the votes were announced Council Leader Susan Hinchliffe said: “We won some seats, but lost some, and lost some good colleagues who have served the District very well. I want to thank them for their service.

“Obviously Gaza was a big issue in these elections. People are so upset about what is happening, and they want to send a message nationally that there needs to be a ceasefire, and that this needs to stop.

“People need to listen to this.

“There are also people struggling with the cost of living crisis and people are looking to those in power to make better decisions.

“People want a General Election and they want a change in Government. The sooner this happens, the better.”