A Tory landslide has seen the party retain overall control of West Sussex County Council following yesterday’s election.
Four years after taking ten seats across West Sussex in a sensational election performance, UKIP’s share of the vote collapsed en route to losing every single councillor to the Conservatives.
Only two UKIP councillors stood again, with UKIP group leader Sandra James losing her Bourne seat by a large margin of almost 500 votes.
Louise Goldsmith, Tory leader of the county council who was re-elected in Chichester West, said: “It’s been an absolutely astounding result because we’ve got 56 decisions, we won 56 decisions.
“Obviously I’m absolutely delighted I know that candidates work very hard and I suppose it’s a testament to our policies.
“I’m over the moon, I’m absolutely 100 per cent over the moon, very proud of all the Conservative candidates, who worked very hard.”
She added: “We try and put our residents at the core of everything we do and we’ll continue to do that.
“I just want to thank everybody who voted and supported us.”
Stephen Hillier, re-elected as a Tory county councillor for Haywards Heath East, tweeted: “A huge thank you to the outstanding @Mid_Sussex team and our residents Won by astonishing 850 votes! 3yrs hard work happily recognised.”
Labour’s share of the vote held up, losing just one of its six seats to the Tories in Crawley and narrowly missing out gaining a seat in Worthing East.
Meanwhile the Lib Dems were the other big gainer, taking Rustington but losing Northbrook to the Tories, but picking up both Midhurst and Hassocks and Burgess Hill South from independents.
Lib Dem councillor for Tarring Bob Smytherman, who is the only non-Tory county councillor in Worthing, tweeted: “Great to have some new colleagues to return to be official opposition again! #LibDemFightback.”
Kirsty Lord, who beat the Tory candidate in Hassocks and Burgess Hill South by only 20 votes, said: “Voters: Never ever think your vote doesn’t count. Campaigners: never ever think you can’t knock on one last door.”
The final results were 56 Conservatives, nine Lib Dems, and five Labour.
More to follow.
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