LOCAL ELECTION: Labour make gains to narrow Conservative majority

Labour celebrations
Labour celebrations

Labour gained four councillors at this year’s local elections to become the Conservatives’ main opposition on Worthing Borough Council.

Just months after winning their first seat in the town for more than 40 years, Labour increased their number of seats to five, ahead of the Liberal Democrats’ two.

Bob Smytherman held his seat in Tarring for the Liberal Democrats

Bob Smytherman held his seat in Tarring for the Liberal Democrats

The Conservatives gained Durrington from UKIP but notably lost cabinet member Diane Guest in Heene to Labour, while Labour also took Conservative seats in Selden and Broadwater.

Labour also took Central ward from the Green Party.

Bob Smytherman held Tarring ward for the Liberal Democrats, 16 years after he was first elected a borough councillor.

This year’s election saw 13 Worthing Borough Council wards head to the polls with the Tories defending ten seats and the Liberal Democrats, UKIP and Greens each defending one.

Conservatives Heather Mercer, Louise Murphy, Edward Crouch and Sean McDonald all held their seats

Conservatives Heather Mercer, Louise Murphy, Edward Crouch and Sean McDonald all held their seats

Despite losing two seats overall, the Conservatives continue to hold a majority with 28 of the 37 seats on Worthing Borough Council.

The opposition has grown from seven seats to nine, with Labour occupying five, Liberal Democrats remaining with two, and UKIP down to one seat alongside a single Independent.

Leader of Worthing Borough Council Dan Humphreys said he was happy with the results but disappointed to see Dianne Guest lose her seat.

He added: “Diane has done some sterling work in her ward for the past four years. Her and Callum Buxton have done some great work and will be missed over the next 12 months. I hope they will be back.

“Overall, there is not a massive change.

“It seems to me that the people of Worthing are happy with what we are doing. We came here to defend ten seats. We lost three but also made a gain to leave us with eight seats from today. The opposition has only grown from seven to nine so that is no huge difference. The main difference is just the colour of rosettes they are wearing.

“Our message is a huge thank you to all those who turned out to vote. We will continue to work on Teville Gate and support the local NHS for the people of Worthing.”

Jim Deen, Labour councillor who gained Central from the Green Party, said he was ‘extremely pleased’ with his party’s progression.

He said: “We, as a party, have really been campaigning towards a number of seats in Worthing.

“We targeted a number of wards, including Central, where we thought we stood a good chance of winning to provide the Tories with an opposition that is so needed.

“Last year, we gained our first councillor in Worthing for 41 years and now we have more Labour councillors in Worthing than ever before so the future looks good.”

For more reaction to today’s election results see next week’s Worthing Herald.

For an in-depth look at all of today’s results, click here.