Labour and Greens make gains across Sussex in local elections

·3-min read
Peter Kyle, left, with Labour activists and councillors celebrating the party's win in Worthing: credit - Peter Kyle
Peter Kyle, left, with Labour activists and councillors celebrating the party's win in Worthing: credit - Peter Kyle

LABOUR and the Green Party have emerged as the big winners of the local elections across Sussex, making gains across the county.

Labour won a net seven councillors across Sussex, with the Greens gaining four, while the Conservatives lost a total of ten councillors, with the Liberal Democrats also losing a seat.

In a historic win, Labour gained six seats on Worthing Borough Council to secure the first Labour administration on the council in its history.

Labour gains included one against the Conservative deputy leader of the council Edward Crouch, who lost his seat by more than 450 votes.

His replacement, Andy Whight, said Labour’s victory was like “winning the World Cup” and said he was looking forward to his first day as part of the incoming Labour administration.

Labour group leader Beccy Cooper thanked residents who backed the party in the election and said: "We're ready to work hard for you all."

MP of Hove and shadow Northern Ireland secretary Peter Kyle described the mood as "sheer joy" after the "stunning, historic victory".

He said: "Remember, five years ago Labour had no councillors here. This is proof that Labour is reconnecting to traditional coastal communities."

The party also gained a seat in Crawley, making them the largest party with 18 seats - short of 19 needed for an overall majority. However, a by-election in a seat defended by Labour could grant them control next month.

However, Labour’s success was tempered with its loss of control in Hastings, with three Green gains depriving the party of an overall majority.

Labour now has 15 councillors in the town, while the Conservatives remained unchanged on 12 and the Greens on five.

Although the Conservatives remained in control of Adur District Council, the party lost two seats to Labour and one to the Greens - reducing its majority on the council to just one. The Tories now hold 16 seats, with Labour on nine, the Greens on two and two independents.

Conservative council leader Neil Parkin narrowly avoided losing his ward of Hillside to Labour by just 12 votes.

Despite Labour’s success in Crawley, the leader of the Labour group Peter Lamb announced he would be standing down.

Speaking after the results were declared, he thanked those who backed the party and supported him over the years.

He said: “I was 25 when I became Labour group leader, I’ve done the second-longest term ever, and I’m the first Labour leader in 40 years to be able to go on his own terms.

“I feel like I’ve done for now what I want to do and I want a short break from the tense politics I have been doing.

“I’ll be doing what I can to support the community whatever happens.”

In Brighton, Labour also picked up a council seat from the Conservatives in the Rottingdean Coastal by-election.

Labour’s Robert Mcintosh won the seat by 88 votes, with independent candidate Stephen White pushing the Conservatives to third.

MP for Brighton Kemptown Lloyd Russell-Moyle heralded the result and said it bodes well for city-wide elections next year.

He said: “This is the first time we have won Rottingdean Coastal and I think it shows the people of Brighton and Hove are rejecting Conservativism, sleaze and deceit.

"People in Rottingdean have wanted a fresh start with Robert and I expect the people in this city are looking to see the back of the Conservatives."

Mr White, however, said that voters in the ward were rejecting the main political parties and questioned how strong a mandate the newly-elected councillor had.

"The big main party beat me by around 80 votes - that's not a ringing endorsement,” he said.

Nationally, Labour has 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 advances in places that voted Conservative at the last general election.

Across England the Tories have lost more than 200 councillors, as well as ten councils - including Wokingham, Maidstone and Huntingdonshire.

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