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Fortune Green: Lib Dem Flick Rea survives in a bumpy night for Labour

Labour candidates told to expect the worst, but incumbents re-elected alongside Lib Dem Flick Rea

04 May, 2018 — By William McLennan

Re-elected: Lorna Russell, Richard Olszewski and Flick Rea

LABOUR candidates in Fortune Green went through a night of needless turmoil after a “catastrophic miscalculation” of polling data predicted a Lib Dem landslide.

Despite a nervy night which saw tears flowing from both Labour and Lib Dem candidates as the votes were toted up, all three incumbent councillors were re-elected.

Labour’s Lorna Russell and Town Hall finance chief Richard Olszewski had been told as the polls closed at 10pm that they should expect to lose their seats to a surging Lib Dem campaign.

But it turned out their Labour colleagues, in charge of crunching the data based on turnout and voting habits, had misread the results. Several hours later, as the vote slips pilled up it appeared that long-standing Lib Dem councillor Flick Rea may even lost her seat. In the end the drama finished with the same three councillors returning to the council chamber.

Some in the Labour camp were enraged that their data analysis had been so far off the mark, leaving to a night of emotional turmoil for the candidates.

One said: “This was a catastrophic miscalculation of the data, that left one of our candidates in tears. We now need to look at what went wrong.”

Asked for her interpretation of the rough ride, Cllr Russell said: “I think you can’t trust data until the votes have been counted. It looked closer than it was.”

Cllr Olszewski added: “I was sitting on a majority of 17 four years ago, so it was never going to be easy. It’s a lively community scene up there. The political parties are active. It’s traditionally a Liberal Democrat stronghold so they have resources to fight a campaign and we’ve done the same. It’s motivated both of our parties’ supporters.”

Both expressed their deep respect for Cllr Rea, despite their political differences.

Cllr Olszewski said: “We encountered numerous voters in Fortune Green who have been helped by Flick, who respect Flick and I would take nothing away from her for that.”

Shamim Ahmed CONSERVATIVE 663
Adrian Bridge LIB DEM 1,209
Sorin Floti LABOUR 1,326
Helen Jack GREEN 378
Richard Olszewski LABOUR 1,353
Flick Rea LIB DEM 1,496
Lorna Russell LABOUR 1,468
Tracey Shackle LIB DEM 1,138
Phillip Taylor CONSERVATIVE 758


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