[Beds & Herts Tuesday Telegraph: November 4, 1919]
Luton Municipal Elections on Saturday did not provide any great surprises, for the result in each ward was very much what was expected. It could not be foretold as safely as in some previous years, for there was a certain amount of doubt as to the extent to which recent happenings in the town would affect the polling.
Of the two retiring members of the Corporation who sought re-election, one was returned at the top of the poll in his ward. The other, elected previously as a party candidate and faced this time with very strong opposition, found his independent candidature anything but a success, and in a contest where there were six candidates for two seats he found himself well at the bottom.
The fact that of these two retiring members one succeeded and one failed may lead to some interesting speculations as to what would have happened if the demand from certain quarters had been acceded to, and the whole Council had seen fit to resign and seek re-election.
Labour now has one representative, and a very good one, in Mr W. J. Mair JP, and the Labour Party, who have struggled long to secure a footing in the Town Council, may be satisfied with this measure of success. But if they are, they have modified their views considerably during the last few days, as they have talked very confidently of the success they were going to achieve in all three wards.
The three ex-service candidates were left out in the cold, and only one of the three got what might be considered a decent measure of support. They might have done better, perhaps, had there not been so many Labour candidates in the field. As it was, the combined fight of the Labour and Co-operative parties seems to have abolished their chances altogether.
In all the wards there was a lot of cross-voting, one vote being given to a Labour candidate and the other to one of the others. From the North Ward figures in particular, where only two votes decided the top two candidates, this cross-voting would be anything but apparent, but it was done in that ward almost as much as anywhere else.
Mr C. H. Osborne, who headed the poll in the North Ward, comes to the Town Council with considerable experience. He has already served the town 12 years in this capacity, and is one of the former Mayors of Luton, but found it necessary to sever his connection with the Corporation a few years ago when his health broke down. It was during his term of office that Luton ventured on the provision of a tramway service, and Mr Osborne, who was at that time one of the leading supporters of the scheme, has some very definite views today as to what should be done to make the undertaking of more value to the community.
Mr Linsell makes his first entry into the municipal sphere. He is an active worker in connection with the Chamber of Commerce, and is a member of the Council of that body, but hitherto he has confined his activities fairly closely to matters associated with the trade in which he is engaged. One of his sons made the great sacrifice in the war.
Counting in this ward took place at the Plait Hall, and the result was now known until just on 11 o'clock. The crowd waiting outside to hear the result was not very large, but it was decidedly noisy when the candidates went out to thank the electors who supported them. Women were particularly noisy.
Alderman E. Oakley, who acted as returning officer, then declared the result to be:
Mr A. B. Attwood, who retains his seat in the East Ward, has of late been chairman of the Highways Committee, and is regarded as one of those from whom the next Mayor will have to be selected very shortly. His wife is vice-chairman of the Board of Guardians, and was one of the first lady members to be elected to the Guardians.
Mr W. J. Mair JP was put on the Commission of the Peace as a representative of the Labour Party, of which he is one of the moderate men. He did very good service on the Appeals Tribunal, and had interested himself in local matters in various directions. He is now chairman of the Local Employment Committee, which is working in connection with the resettlement of soldiers in civil occupations and the training of the disabled.
The checking and counting of votes in the East Ward was carried out in St Mary's Hall, and a few spoilt papers were found. Alderman Williams officiated as returning officer and the result was declared at about 10.15.
Mr J. H. Webb is also a newcomer to the municipal arena. He has in the pat been president of the Luton Tradesmen's Association, and with the joint approval of both employers and employees was selected as the neutral chairman of the industrial council which was proposed for Luton a little while ago, but which owing to various causes did not materialise.
Mr W. B. Tydeman is a keen churchman and CEMS worker, a well-known Friendly Society man and a member of the Luton and District Friendly Societies' Council, and a strong supporter of the work carried on among the poorer boys of the town by the Luton Lads' League.
Boxes arrived at Christ Church Schools, Buxton Road, for the counting. Returning officer Alderman A. Wilkinson declared the result soon after 11pm.
THE STRENGTH OF THE POLL
In the elections 23,563 people were entitled to vote, but only 10,112 did so, this giving a percentage of 42.49 for the whole town. The statistics for division and wards are given below: