LABOUR'S Keiran Casey says he'll continue to do all he can to help the community of Upper Gornal and Woodsetton despite losing his council seat in last Thursday's local election.

Cllr Casey, who had represented the ward since 2012, was among the Labour Party casualties ousted by the Conservatives who turned the borough blue overnight on May 6.

The party's slaughtering at the polls has seen a number of long-serving, high-profile and hard-working councillors turfed off the council.

But community-spirited Mr Casey, who polled 1,313 votes versus Conservative Mark Westwood's 1,397, has pledged to carry on doing his bit to help out colleagues and the community.

He told the News: “It has genuinely been a pleasure to represent the area I love on the council since 2012 and I am really proud of what myself and Adam Aston have achieved in that time, so I like to think I leave the place better than when I found it.

“I know that my colleague Adam will continue to do everything he can to help and get things done locally, and I'll still be around doing things in the community working as a team just like we always have done, in the end, I still love the community whether I am a councillor or not, so I will try to do everything I can to make it a better place.

“Clearly it wasn't just a bad night in Dudley, but has happened for Labour across the country. I think there's a couple of reasons for this really – how well the vaccine roll out is going, people wanting the Government to succeed because it's good for the country at the moment to get us out of this dreadful pandemic.

“But I also think there's still a massive job for Sir Keir Starmer to continue to do to get the Labour Party back on a footing with working class people in places just like Dudley and across the country.

"I think he's got a real task ahead of him, but he needs to keep cracking on and bringing us back to where I, and many residents in Dudley think the Labour party should be.”

He said the result in Upper Gornal and Woodsetton "was much closer than in other areas across Dudley" and he added: "This gives me some comfort that lots of local residents went out and supported me and recognised the work I had done since 2012."

Labour's Gaye Partridge, also lost the Cradley and Wollescote seat she had held since 2002, after Conservative Natalie Neale pipped her to the post to make a return to the council.

Gaye, who polled 1,232 votes to Cllr Neale's 1,395, said afterwards that she would be taking some time out to assess what the results meant for her and the party and she added: "I have to say the last 19 years haven’t been a chore and I have been impressed and inspired by so much that happens locally.

“The next few months will see the start of the consultation on the Black Country Plan and, like many others, I will do everything possible to ensure Wollescote’s Green Spaces continue to exist long into the next century.”

Labour's other big losses included Brockmoor and Pensnett Labour councillor John Martin who lost his seat to Tory Rebbekah Collins who polled 1,207 compared to Mr Martin's 919, and Brierley Hill's Serena Craigie who was beaten by Conservative candidate Adam Davies (1,692 - compared to 1,011).

Labour stalwart and former cabinet member Hilary Bills also lost her Halesowen North seat to Conservative candidate Stuart Henley who polled 1,906 votes compared to Hilary's 1,698.

Labour councillor Pete Lowe, former leader of Dudley Council and the party's former Parliamentary candidate for Stourbridge, said of the results across the borough: “Labour has heard loud and clear what the results in Dudley and the Black Country have told us. That it’s time for Labour to clean up and reconnect with working families.

“No more tinkering around the edges. We need a bold, ambitious vision for the future of our region which puts the priorities of working families at its core.

“As a former council leader who won Dudley against tough opposition, I’m committing alongside Labour councillors across Dudley to listen to our residents over the weeks and months to come to rebuild trust between Labour and each and every community that has been left behind by this Government.

“I’m continuing the all-year round work that myself and Councillor Mohammed Hanif do to repay the trust voters placed in us to be their representatives.”