The People Vote for STRONGER SOMERSET – But will the Government just Ignore it?

The Stronger Somerset tanks are now on the lawn of David Fothergill’s failing feudal project

The voters of Somerset have spoken and shown their support for Stronger Somerset – the plan for two councils, an Eastern Somerset and a Western Somerset council, to replace Somerset’s existing five county and district councils. The result of the local poll, which closed on Friday 4 June, was delivered today by Civica Electoral Services, who independently ran and verified the ballot. Leader of Sedgemoor Labour Group and Bridgwater Town Council, Brian Smedley (Labour, Westover) said “That’s a clear 2.1 victory for Stronger Somerset , more democracy, more accountability and a clear rejection of this ridiculous idea of one over large council and for a county that recognises its diversity. It’s a vote for local government, for people knowing their councillors and for more power back to the communities. My worry is that Secretary of State Jenrick will just ignore it and plough ahead with a cuts agenda and we’ll end up with the remote feudal option that David Fothergill and the Medievalists have been peddling.  However, if he does that now it’s in the face of a popular vote telling him not to!”

Sedgemoor Labour Leaders joined the cross party protest at County Hall in the final days of the campaign.  Labour Deputy Leader Cllr Kathy Pearce (Bridgwater, Westover) said “This was a genuine consultation which stimulated debate in a way One Somerset never did. Residents have voted and the result is clear support for Stronger Somerset. Let’s just hope that the government takes notice.”

Poll Results

The poll was organised by the 4 District Councils and was supported by Labour, Lib Dems, Greens and a large number of locally based Tories. The result, as announced publicly by the District Council Leaders, was:

Stronger Somerset 72,561 65.3%
One Somerset 38,547 34.7%
Total votes cast 111,589
Invalid votes 481
Total votes counted 111,108
Total eligible voters 436,607
Turnout 25.6%


Sedgemoor Tory Leader Duncan McGinty with the other 3 (Lib Dem)  District Council Leaders

In a joint statement the Leaders of the four District Councils of Somerset said:

“This is a crystal clear message to the Secretary of State from the people of Somerset. The option for change they prefer is the Stronger Somerset plan for two unitary councils. There are potentially significant changes ahead for local government in Somerset that will affect residents’ services and their quality of life for decades to come. We believed it was important that the residents of Somerset were given a proper say in their future in a simple and democratic way.

“We put our faith in the voters of Somerset to make up their own minds by organising a local poll, independently run and verified, while others took every opportunity to discredit the poll and to stifle debate. The government claims they had thousands of responses to their consultation, but they cannot say for sure how many came from Somerset residents. More than 111,000 residents have now had their say in this poll – that’s a huge number and cannot be ignored.

The ‘People’s choice’. Stronger Somerset

“We thank everyone who has voted in this poll. Their voices must now be taken account of in the decision-making process. People have considered the merits of the options before them, they have made their choice – people prefer their local government more local. So, let’s have the decision from the Secretary of State and let’s move forward together to a Stronger Somerset.”

Votes by District

Sedgemoor Labour Leader Brian Smedley backing the Stronger Somerset case

Stronger Somerset: 68.9%
One Somerset: 31.1%

South Somerset
Stronger Somerset: 67%
One Somerset: 33%

Stronger Somerset: 64.1%
One Somerset: 35.9%

Somerset West & Taunton
Stronger Somerset: 61.7%
One Somerset: 38.3%

The overall totals were:
Stronger Somerset: 65.3%
One Somerset: 34.7%

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Ark Redwood
Ark Redwood
2 years ago

I voted for the two council option, but I would like to know why it will be ‘Western’ & ‘Eastern’, and not the more obvious ‘West’ & ‘East’?

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