Labour hold South Portslade in council by-election Brighton News

Voters went to the polls in South Portslade yesterday after long-serving councillor Les Hamilton resigned after more than 50 years serving the area.

Speaking at the time of his resignation in November last year, Mr Hamilton said: “Age has now caught up with me and tells me it’s time to slow down and give up being a councillor.

“It has been a tremendous honour to be able to make a difference for local people.”

Josh Guilmant held the seat on Brighton and Hove City Council for Labour, albeit by a slightly smaller margin than at the local election in May last year.

Mr Guilmant won 874 votes, beating Conservative candidate Benjamin Franks by more than 600 votes.

The Liberal Democrats placed third with 186 votes, with the Green Party fourth with 149.

Full results from South Portslade by-election

Josh Guilmant, Labour: 874

Benjamin Franks, Conservative Party: 246

Kenneth Rist, Liberal Democrats: 186

Danny Booth, Green Party: 149

David Maples, Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition: 53

Georgia McKinley-Fitch, Democratic Liberation Party: 49

Jamie Gillespie, Independent: 44

Following the announcement of his election, Mr Guilmant told The Argus he was “delighted” by the result.

He said: “I’m really pleased South Portslade have continued with Labour and put their faith in me to continue what Les and Cllr Alan Robins have been building over decades.

“It’s a real team effort and that can’t be underplayed.”

Council leader Bella Sankey also heralded the result and said: “It’s been a really resounding win for the Labour Party in South Portslade – a community that we have long established links and connections with and has been served exceptionally well by the outgoing Labour councillor Les Hamilton and the continuing councillor Alan Robins.

“I’m delighted for Josh and really grateful to the residents of South Portslade for putting their trust and confidence in the Labour Party and continuing to do so – especially on a very cold day in January.”

The by-election came amid controversy over plans by the Labour administration to close St Peter’s Community Primary and Nursery School, which is in the ward, from August.

Parents at the school have campaigned against the proposed closure of the school, which first opened in 1906, claiming pupils with special educational needs may find the prospect of leaving their “secure and nurturing environment… traumatic.”

However, the Labour administration has said the proposal was “not made lightly” and reflects the “significant demographic changes in the city”, as well as the “consequent crisis in school funding and viability”.

Mr Guilmant, a teacher by trade, said: “We’ve had continued cuts in education from the Conservatives over decades, so having that means the council is in the position where they need to look at funding across the city to make sure they are effective in terms of delivering for South Portslade and for every other ward in the city so every child is taken care of.”

He also said he would be “more than happy” to listen and meet with parents affected by the potential closure.

The result gives Labour a total of 36 councillors on Brighton and Hove City Council.

The by-election is the first since Labour secured a majority on Brighton and Hove City Council in May last year and is also one of the first in the UK to be held in what is widely expected to be the year a general election is called.

Turnout in the by-election was 21.8 per cent, down from 35.6 per cent at the local election last year.

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This notice was published: 2024-01-12 13:04:49

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