When Shropshire Council was established in 2009, the Conservatives gained a majority of 34 over the opposition parties and independents. Fast forward to 2023. The Conservative majority has been reduced to just four.

The Tories are in peril of losing votes they need to win in the council chamber. They are also in danger of losing more by-elections. They have lost the last four to the Lib Dems.

Although leading Conservatives are blaming their problems on the national government, their problems lie closer to home. They have shown little interest in communities. They haven’t listened to people. They have become arrogant and autocratic.

Nationally and locally, the Conservatives have been in power too long. The county needs a change. The country needs a change. The Conservatives need to retreat, detox from power and reflect on how they have turned electoral popularity to being a party that is too widely detested and distrusted.

It is time for others to lead national and local government.

Shropshire Council political balance October 2023
Shropshire Council election results and current balance

The mood among many Conservatives is bleak. The disengagement of some Shropshire Conservatives in council business is obvious at council meetings.

Lord Hamilton of Dalzell, who is president of the Ludlow (South Shropshire) Conservative Association, is equally bleak. Shortly after the Conservatives lost a “safe” seat in the Worfield by-election by just six votes, he penned a post for Conservative Home that reflected the turmoil and angst among Conservatives locally:

“The defining factor in the Worfield by-election was the pervasive dissatisfaction with the current Conservative government and the perception that ordinary people and rural issues are not considered in Westminster.”

Putting aside his implied criticism of Philip Dunne, Lord Hamilton is only partly correct. Nationally, they preside over a broken Britain. Locally the Conservatives are struggling to get elected because they won’t listen to people. They have become estranged from the county and communities. They are too often aloof and arrogant.

With a Conservative majority of just four in the council chamber, two factors will be significant in the outcome of future votes. It will depend on how many members of each party attend the council meeting – eight councillors gave apologies for the last council meeting. Which way the four independent councillors vote will often prove critical.

The Conservatives are now in an unpredictable political landscape of their own making.

The next Shropshire Council elections will be in 2025. I get the impression Shropshire Tories are like the national Tories. They are preparing to lose. That would be the best outcome for the nation and for the county.

5 thought on “The Tories are perilously close to losing control of Shropshire Council”
  1. Just as with national elections, it would help greatly where it’s clear that a split vote between the LibDems and Labour will still ensure a Tory win, that the party likely to win the least votes abstains from participation.

    1. Agree entirely. In the last election, if the Lib Dems and the Greens had put up one candidate each in this two-seat division, both would have been elected. As it was, two Tories were elected. I wish the opposition parties would get their act together.

  2. In the first seven years as a Unitary Council, Shropshire Council made a series of financial decisions that resulted in a £120 million loss of income. Not long afterwards, they ‘invested’ most of their reserves in the town centre at a time when their own pension fund was divesting itself of such properties and investing instead in out of town warehouses. Sure enough, what had cost over £50 million was rapidly revalued at £11million. All these figures were confirmed by the council’s finance officers.
    Any alternative could hardly be worse, could it?

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