PEOPLE have voted for the party they can trust to make changes – that’s the message from the leader of Portsmouth City Council.
It was another win for the Conservatives as they took five more seats in the local elections.
Eastney and Craneswater, Nelson, Paulsgrove, St Jude and St Thomas wards all turned from Lib Dem to Tory as the local election results were revealed yesterday.
Cllr Donna Jones said: ‘The result is absolutely brilliant.
‘I had hoped we would win two new seats, but to win five is outstanding.
‘What’s happened nationally has followed in Portsmouth.
‘This is crucial for us as it means we are only four or five seats off a majority, and that’s something we could clinch at next year’s election.
‘We have proven we are business-minded and aspirational.
‘More jobs have been provided, we are talking about bringing in a five-star hotel, we have got the America’s Cup and looking to bring the Tour De France to Portsmouth again.
‘It’s clear which party people can see making a change and who they trust.’
One key seat gained by the Tories was the Paulsgrove ward.
There were eruptions of cheers in the Portsmouth Guildhall each time the Tories gained and held a seat.
No cheer was louder when it was announced Labour’s David Horne lost out to Gemma New at the elections.
Cllr Jones added: ‘What further shows that people believe in us is that we took the seat in Paulsgrove.
‘That’s a strong message as it’s not a natural Conservative seat.
‘But Gemma is a local girl, who lives and works in Paulsgrove, and people can really connect with her.
‘It’s the same for another seat we have won from the Lib Dems.
‘Look at Leo Madden, he has been in for 24 years for the Lib Dems.
‘I’m very proud Ian Lyon won the seat for us.’
A total of 14 seats – one from each ward in the city – were up for grabs.
The Lib Dems also lost the Charles Dickens ward to the Labour party.
Ukip failed to get any seats.
It means the Tories will now have 17 members on the council, compared to the Lib Dems’ 15.
Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson reversed his fortunes from the general election when he lost out on the Portsmouth South seat to Flick Drummond – as he comfortably held his council seat in the Milton ward.
Mike Hancock, who stood as the only independent candidate, only picked up 285 votes in the Fratton ward, which was held by the Lib Dems.
A cheer erupted around the main hall when this result was announced – a result that spells the end of his four-decade political career.
Cllr Vernon-Jackson, who is also leader of the local Lib Dem party, said: ‘Of course I am pleased to stay on and I will do all I can to serve those on my ward.
‘The city council has a very interesting set-up now it has gained so many Tory seats.
‘But because of the general elections, it means we now have two Conservative MPs and we have a Tory majority government.
‘This means all the decisions will be made by the Tories and they won’t have anyone to blame if it doesn’t go well.’