LABOR and the Green Party emerged as the big winners in local elections across Sussex, making gains across the county.
Labor won a net seven councilors across Sussex, with the Greens gaining four, while the Conservatives lost a total of ten councillors, with the Liberal Democrats also losing one seat.
In a historic victory, Labor won six seats on Worthing Borough Council to secure the first Labor administration on council in its history.
Labor’s gains included one against Conservative deputy leader of the council Edward Crouch, who lost his seat by more than 450 votes.
His replacement, Andy Whight, said winning Labor was like “winning the World Cup” and said he was looking forward to his first day in the new Labor administration.
Labor leader Beccy Cooper thanked residents who supported the party in the election and said: ‘We are ready to work hard for you all.
Hove MP and Northern Ireland Shadow Secretary Peter Kyle described the mood as “pure joy” after the “historic and breathtaking victory”.
He said: “Remember, five years ago Labor had no councilors here. This is proof that Labor is reconnecting with traditional coastal communities.”
The party also secured a seat in Crawley, making it the largest party with 18 seats – less than the 19 needed for an overall majority. However, a by-election in a seat defended by Labor could hand them control next month.
However, Labor’s success was tempered by its loss of control in Hastings, with three green wins robbing the party of an overall majority.
Labor now has 15 councilors in the city, while the Conservatives remained unchanged at 12 and the Greens at five.
Although the Conservatives retained control of Adur District Council, the party lost two seats to Labor and one to the Greens, reducing its majority in the council to just one. The Conservatives now hold 16 seats, Labor has nine, the Greens two and two Independents.
Conservative council leader Neil Parkin narrowly avoided losing his Hillside ward to Labor by just 12 votes.
Despite Labour’s success at Crawley, Labor leader Peter Lamb announced he would step down.
Speaking after the announcement of the results, he thanked those who supported the party and supported it over the years.
He said: ‘I was 25 when I became leader of the Labor group, served the second longest term of office ever and am the first Labor leader in 40 years to be able to go on his own terms.
“I feel like I’ve done what I wanted to do for now and I want a short break from the tense politics I’ve been doing.
“I will do what I can to support the community no matter what.”
In Brighton, Labor also won a Conservative council seat in the Rottingdean Coastal by-election.
Labor’s Robert Mcintosh won the seat by 88 votes, with independent candidate Stephen Wright pushing the Conservatives to third place.
Brighton Kemptown MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle announced the result and said it boded well for next year’s municipal elections.
He said: “This is the first time we have won Rottingdean Coastal and I think it shows the people of Brighton and Hove reject conservatism, foolishness and deceit.
“The people of Rottingdean have wanted a fresh start with Robert and I expect the people of this town will be looking to see the Tories back.”
Mr Wright, however, said ward voters rejected the main political parties and questioned the strength of the newly elected councillor’s tenure.
“The big main party beat me by about 80 votes – that’s not a ringing endorsement,” he said.
Nationally, Labor made considerable gains across London, picking up councils in Wandsworth, Westminster and Barnet, as well as Southampton on the south coast.
However, the party has struggled to make significant headway in places that voted Conservative in the last general election.
Across England, the Tories have lost more than 200 councillors, along with ten councils – including Wokingham, Maidstone and Huntingdonshire.
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This notice was published: 2022-05-06 14:53:33