Labour Party wins both seats in delayed Neath Port Talbot council election
Lewis Smith, local democracy reporter
Labour Party candidates have won both seats in the Neath Port Talbot council election delayed from May following the death of independent councillor and candidate Andrew Tutton.
A count in Port Talbot’s Princess Royal Theatre, saw both Saifur Rahaman and Sharon Freeguard of Welsh Labour reelected.
Despite the deferred election, the result will have no overall effect on the leadership of the council this term, as a new coalition has already been set up after the May 5 elections, with representatives from the Independent, Plaid Cymru, and Dyffryn Independent groups making an agreement to share power.
It is the first time Labour has lost its grip on the borough since it was created in 1996.
Speaking after his re-election, returning member Saifur Rahaman said while it would be different returning as the opposition this year, he is looking forward to the challenge that is ahead of him.
He said: “I want to start by thanking every single member of staff on the council who conducted this deferred election for all their hard work.
“I also want to thank the good people of Port Talbot for trusting me and Sharon and for voting for us, and we are looking forward to the new challenge that is ahead of us.
“I know that we are in the opposition now, so I think the most important thing is for the people is to have a strong representation from us. We both have good experience over the last 10 years and will be there to make sure the reports and policies that go through the council are scrutinised as best as they can be.”
Sharon Freeguard added: “It’s been an epic journey this election and we want to thank the people of Port Talbot for having the confidence in re-electing us for the next five years. We look forward to starting work as soon as possible.
“I’d like to thank our fellow candidates, and also our campaign team who have been absolutely brilliant. They ran a really positive and honest campaign and it’s been a real pleasure to work with them.
“We will be returning as opposition but will continue to scrutinise the council’s work to make sure we get the best services possible for the residents in our ward. Overall, we’re just delighted to be able to work for people in the Port Talbot ward.”
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