DECISIONS now have to be made over which party will continue to prop up a Tory council in Portsmouth after no party failed to gain overall control at the local elections.
The Conservatives were confident of increasing their numbers from 19 to 22 on the council, which would have given them the majority of the 42 seats on the council.
We went into the election with 19, we’ve come out with 19, so we’ll just need three more, and over the next two years, we could pick them up through defections or by-elections that could give us seats going forward.Councillor Donna Jones, Tory council leader
But they failed to make gains in the south of the city, where the Lib Dems increased their vote and Labour snatched a seat in Charles Dickens. It was a bad night for Ukip as they failed to make any gains.
It is likely the Tories will continue to run as a minority administration that will have the backing of either Ukip or Labour – as has been the case since 2014 – and enable policies to be voted through.
But Tory council leader Donna Jones, who held on to her seat in Hilsea, hasn’t ruled out rival councillors defecting and making up the majority she’s after.
Cllr Jones said: ‘We went into the election with 19, we’ve come out with 19, so we’ll just need three more, and over the next two years we could pick them up through defections or by-elections that could give us seats going forward.
‘We have a clear vision for the city that wasn’t there under the Lib Dems.’
Asked whether he will continue to oppose a Tory regime, Lib Dem leader Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson said: ‘We will oppose those things that are wrong and the cuts to domestic violence and the fact 500 victims will no longer be given a professional service. We need to make sure the right decisions are taken for the city, and some very, very bad decisions have been made.’
The future of the council’s leadership will be decided at its AGM on Tuesday, May 17.
LABOUR HOLD ON
LABOUR leader John Ferrett spoke of his pride after he retained his Paulsgrove council seat.
Cllr Ferrett was targeted by left-wing faction The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition going into the election and had come under fire for his criticism of Labour’s national leadership. But he rose above the controversy to secure 995 votes, ahead of Ukip’s Mike Jerome, with 711. Cllr Ferrett said he took it as a ‘badge of honour’ Tusc only chose to stand against him. He said: ‘We have fought a really tough fight, not least from Ukip.’ Meanwhile, Labour’s Stephen Morgan claimed victory in Charles Dickens, taking Labour’s total seats to three.
LIB DEM WHO HELD SEX PARTIES SET TO BECOME NEXT MAYOR
A LIB Dem councillor who faced scandal for holding alternative sex parties at his home in Fareham is now set to become this year’s Lord Mayor of Portsmouth after being re-elected.
Cllr David Fuller held onto his Fratton seat after claiming 860 votes – fending off Labour’s Tom Coles, with 733 votes. Councillors voted for Cllr Fuller to be last year’s deputy Lord Mayor and is set to be the 2016/2017 Lord Mayor pending a final vote on May 17. Cllr Fuller has said he has not held similar parties since their details were made public in 2013.