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Labour down to one in Havering as longest serving councillor ousted

09:00 31 May 2014

Cllr Denis O

Cllr Denis O'Flynn

Archant

The already weak presence of Labour within the Havering Council chamber has been crippled following the elections - with Havering’s longest serving councillor losing his seat.

The party had five acting councillors, but that has now been reduced to just one, leader, Cllr Keith Darvill, who was re-elected in Heaton ahead of his colleagues, Cllr Paul McGeary and 40-year veteran, Cllr Denis O’Flynn.

Denis, 81, says he will not miss the role, and is looking forward to enjoying a nice glass of wine in the evenings and going on walks with his wife and his dogs.

“I have no regrets”, he said. “I am still an honorary alderman and will still attend council meetings, I wouldn’t want to miss that comedy in any circumstances.”

Denis won his seat in a by-election in 1971, and highlighted his campaign to install zebra crossings in Straight Road in 1973 as his first success, as well as a play area in Keats Avenue, Harold Hill shortly after.

He and Cllr McGeary won 1,165 and 1,135 votes and have been replaced by Ukip candidates Philip Hyde and Ian De Wulverton, who came out on top with 1,549 and 1,506 votes.

Denis is looking forward to seeing a coalition council, but is not sure about Ukip and his successors in Heaton.

“It’s going to be very interesting,” he said. “Ukip thought they would get about 15 seats but they got seven. They never say anything, in the budget meeting Cllr Webb spoke about Europe.

“I am sure the Harold Hill people were interested in Europe while their garages were getting knocked down.”

In a mirroring of the national trend, the Liberal Democrats were almost a non-entity in the polls, with the 17 candidates winning just 1,989 votes between them, gaining no seats.

The highest percentage of votes recieved by any member of the party was 2 per cent, and they were topped by the Green Party in every ward they competed in.

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