VOTERS in Morley used the Leeds City Council elections to send the coalition government the message they are not happy.
In Ardsley and Robin Hood, Labour’s councillor Jack Dunn was re-elected with a comfortable majority while in Morley South Labour’s Neil Dawson took the seat from Morley Borough Independent councillor Terry Grayshon.
Labour did not get it all their own way however and in Morley North, Bob Gettings for the Morley Borough Independents held on to his seat having gained 3,642 votes to Labour’s 1,599.
In all three wards the Liberal Democrats gained the fewest votes but everywhere the turn out was low - around 40 per cent.
The biggest shock of the day came when Terry Grayshon, who has been a MBI councillor for seven years, lost his seat to the chairman of the Morley North Labour Party and former town councillor Neil Dawson by 53 votes.
A victorious Coun Dawson and shadow chancellor and Morley MP Ed Balls both paid tribute to Mr Grayshon and to all he has done for Morley.
Neil Dawson, who was deputy mayor of Morley in 2002/3, said: “I would like to say a big thank you to the people of Morley South for putting their trust in me and I am determined to be a great representative for the next four years.
“Thank you too to the Labour team for the work they have done, it’s been a tremendous campaign and I couldn’t have done it without them.
“This sends two clear messages - the first is to Mr Clegg and Mr Cameron - your coalition is not working, it’s unfair and it is bringing in unfair policies and it is not working for the people of Morley South and Leeds.
“The second is to the Morley Borough Independents - I have immense respect for the work you have done for Morley over the last four years and in particular Terry Grayshon who has been a tremendous asset to Morley.
Mr Balls was among the first to congratulate Coun Dawson but also paid tribute to Mr Grayshon with whom he has worked in the past.
He said: “Terry Grayshon has been a really, really good councillor for Morley.
“He, with his immediate colleagues have done a really good job and Neil Dawson is going to be a worthy successor and will work hard with his fellow councillors to put Morley first.”
Mr Grayshon said he was “very disappointed” to have lost his seat but added that his time serving the people of Morley South had been “a wonderful experience”.
Mr Grayshon lost his seat to Labour’s Neil Dawson by 53 votes after a recount at Morley Town Hall this morning.
Speaking after the result he said: “I’ve had a wonderful experience over the past seven years.
“Looking back on some of the things I’ve done - the fundraising for Sri Lanka after the tsunami, the help given to the family of David Kirkness - being a councillor has enabled me to do lots of things I would never have been able to do otherwise.
“Of course I’m disappointed but it’s been an experience I’m very grateful for.”
* For the full story and more election reaction see Wednesday’s Observer & Advertiser.