Tories take a punishing in council elections across Sussex

Chichester Lib Dems celebrate election results outside count
Chichester Lib Dems celebrate election results outside count

The Tories have taken a punishing in the polls across Sussex losing overall control of several councils today (Friday May 3).

The overnight results in other parts of England were a sign of things to come in the county, with voters making their frustrations known about Prime Minister Theresa May’s leadership and the current Brexit stalemate.

Worthing Labour members celebrate doubling their number of councillors on the borough council

Worthing Labour members celebrate doubling their number of councillors on the borough council

As the Tories lost seats, the Lib Dems and Greens made gains in many areas, and contrary to the overall national picture Labour fared well in many parts of Sussex.

The Conservatives lost their overall majorities on Arun, Chichester and Rother district councils after polling yesterday.

Bexhill proved to be particularly disastrous for Rother Tories, as they lost 12 of 13 seats in the town, with independents making sweeping gains.

Meanwhile over in Arun, which has had a Conservative majority since its formation in 1974, the Lib Dems became the largest party.

Greens take Withdean from the Conservatives (Credit: Sarah Booker-Lewis, Local democracy reporter)

Greens take Withdean from the Conservatives (Credit: Sarah Booker-Lewis, Local democracy reporter)

The day proved particularly costly for Arun’s Tory leader Gillian Brown, who lost her seat to an independent after leading the authority since 2006.

She wasn’t the only Conservative council leader to lose her seat, with Lewes’ Andy Smith failing to be re-elected.

It was the Greens’ day at Lewes as they picked up an extra six seats, with the Conservatives continuing to be the largest party with no majority.

Although the Conservatives are still the largest party at Chichester, they now only have exactly half the seats, with the Lib Dems making massive inroads.

It was much of the same story in Horsham, where the Lib Dems increased their councillors from five to 13.

Meanwhile Labour continued its recent surge at Worthing Borough Council, picking up five of 11 seats on offer today. Two years ago the party hadn’t seen a Labour councillor elected in Worthing for more than 40 years. It now has ten.

Labour also held off the Conservatives in Crawley to keep control of the council.

Brighton and Hove City Council always provides some of the most exciting election races in the country and this one delivered.

Labour went into yesterday’s polls as the second-largest party behind the Tories but still in control of the council. It finished first on 20 seats, one ahead of the Greens, who picked up a number of seats to finish on 19, with the Tories down to 14.

Eastbourne’s Lib Dems retained control of the borough council and while there were very few political changes a number of new faces have joined the authority.

Meanwhile the Conservatives retained control in both Wealden, finishing with 34 of 45 seats, and Mid Sussex.

This year’s council election in Mid Sussex were quite different from 2015, where the Tories took all 54 seats on offer.

Four years later they managed only 34, with the Lib Dems taking 13 and the Greens picking up three.