Election 2021: Portsmouth City Council remains under no overall control
CONTROL of Portsmouth City Council remains up in the air as no political party won enough seats today for a majority.
For the seventh year running the local authority is in no overall control - and the fight for leadership is yet to be settled.
During this election, in which 14 of the council's 42 seats were up for grabs, the Liberal Democrats won the most seats with six - while the Conservatives took five, Labour won two and one independent was voted in.
However, this was not necessarily a victory for the Lib Dems as they actually lost two seats in shock results - one to the Tories and one to Labour - giving the Conservatives the most councillors overall.
Now the make-up of the council will now be 16 Tories, 15 Lib Dems, seven Labour, two independents and two members of the Portsmouth Progressive People group.
However, Lib Dem leader and incumbent council leader, who was set to step down from both roles today, Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, said it was still 'a good result.'
'We won the most seats of any parties today,' he said.
'People have clearly got confidence in what we've been doing running the city and that gives us a really good mandate to keep running the city for the next year.
'Different years there are different numbers of seats to defend. Next year we're only defending three, this year we were defending eight.'
He added: ‘It’s been no overall control for many years. The council now has to decide if they put the Conservatives back in or if they keep the Lib Dems running the city.
‘Our expectation is we'll keep running the city.’
Former leader of the city's Conservative party, Donna Jones, who gave up her leadership and council seat today in order to run for Hampshire police and crime commissioner, was ‘really pleased’ with the result.
She said: 'We are finishing today as the largest political party on the council and we have seen our vote share increase in every ward.
'As the largest party it falls on us to put forward a challenge to hopefully be in charge of the council.'
She added the party could work as part of a coalition if that was needed.
Re-elected Cllr Matt Atkins, who held his seat in Cosham, has been selected by the Tory group as its new leader.
A surprise result in Central Southsea ward saw Labour boost their numbers, as newcomer Charlotte Gerada knocked deputy Lib Dem leader Steve Pitt from his seat.
Labour group leader, Cllr George Fielding, said: 'All our candidates worked hard and our results match that. Securing Charlotte Gerada in Central Southsea is a huge result for us taking the seat from incumbent and deputy leader of council, as was holding Charles Dickens with Kirsty Mellor.
'Portsmouth Labour is proud to continue to buck the national trend in our city and these results are a building block for the coming years.'
Mr Pitt lost to Ms Gerada by a margin of 129 votes.
This throws future leadership of the Lib Dems into doubt as it was thought leader Cllr Vernon-Jackson would be passing on the reins to Mr Pitt after the election.
Mr Pitt declined to comment following the result.
Cllr Vernon-Jackson said: ‘I’m devastated for Steve. He works ridiculously hard.’
Ms Gerada said she ‘couldn't wait to get stuck in and support such a wonderful community in Central Southsea.’
And in Eastney and Craneswater former cabinet member for health, Matt Winnington, lost his seat to Tory John Smith by 362 votes.
There were a number of newcomers voted in during this election including independent candidate George Madgwick who was voted in to Paulsgrove.
He will be replacing independent John Ferrett who was first voted in as a Labour councillor in 2012.
Speaking to The News, Mr Madgwick said: 'It feels incredible, especially as an independent.
'I ran as an independent as I didn't feel I could support any current political parties.
'A main priority is to re-open the Healthy Living Centre in Paulsgrove.'
There was a Labour hold in Charles Dickens ward as Kirsty Mellor won by 470 votes. She is replacing Stephen Morgan, who is also MP for Portsmouth South.
She said: 'Alongside my good friend (Cllr) Cal Corkery I look forward to building further relationships in the ward and supporting residents to build a strong and safe community that benefits the many not the few.'
The largest majority of the election went to Conservative Ryan Brent who won Drayton and Farlington by a staggering 2,001 votes.
Mr Brent, who served as a councillor in St Thomas ward between 2015 to 2019, said: 'It's good to be back. It's an amazing majority.
'I will represent every resident of Drayton and Farlington regardless of who they voted for.'
Voter turnout in Portsmouth this year was 32.6 per cent.
This is only slightly up from the last local election in 2019, when turnout was 31.5 per cent.
All votes were announced by 3pm.
Darren Sanders (Lib Dem) 1,737
Tom Collins (Con) 1,066
Jason Christopher (Lab) 640
Bob Simmonds (Green) 246
Turnout 33.1 per cent
Lib Dem hold
Charlotte Gerada (Lab) 1,740
Steve Pitt (Lib Dem) 1,611
Charles Douglas (Con) 570
Tamara Groen (Green) 191
Turnout 34.4 per cent
Kirsty Mellor (Lab) 1,183
Renu Raj (Con) 713
Yahiya Chowdhury (Lib Dem) 600
Chris Pickett (Trade Unionist and Socialist Party) 97
Turnout 19.3 per cent
Lewis Gosling (Con) 1,636
Mary Vallely (Lab) 805
Tim Sheerman-Chase (Green) 326
Bobby Tera (Lib Dem) 307
Turnout 31.6 per cent
Matthew Atkins (Con) 1,668
Asghar Shah (Lab) 1,252
David Fuller (Lib Dem) 333
Mike Jerome (Ind) 103
Veronika Wagner (National Health Action Party) 100
Turnout 33.78 per cent
Drayton and Farlington
Ryan Brent (Con) 2,707
David Simpson (Lab) 776
Duncan Garland (Lib Dem) 475
Turnout 38.2 per cent
Eastney and Craneswater
John Smith (Con) 1,654
Matthew Winnington (Lib Dem) 1,292
Craig Withey (Lab) 1,139
Menno Groen (Green) 289
Turnout 45 per cent
Stuart Brown (Lib Dem) 1,029
Nikki Coles (Lab) 977
Paul Sweeney (Con) 712
Ken Hawkins (Green) 154
Joey Smith (Workers Party of Britain) 49
Turnout 27.6 per cent
Lib Dem hold
Daniel Wemyss (Con) 1,763
Julian Lewis (Lab) 783
Peter Williams (Lib Dem) 265
Emma Murphy (Green) 217
Turnout 29.7 per cent
Kimberly Barrett (Lib Dem) 1,471
Paula Savage (Lab) 1,251
Jack Smith (Con) 901
Sarah Gilbert (Green) 283
Turnout 37 per cent
Lib Dem hold
Leo Madden (Lib Dem) 1,097
David Cairns (Con) 781
Georgia Hancock (Lab) 495
Duncan Robinson (Green) 145
Turnout 24.3 per cent
Lib Dem hold
George Madgwick (Ind) 1,684
Tony Hewitt (Con) 1,269
Mark Farwell (Lab) 397
George Brown (Lib Dem) 81
Turnout 33.7 per cent
Hugh Mason (Lib Dem) 1,287
Raj Ghosh (Lab) 1,194
Stephen Gorys (Con) 847
Ian McCulloch (Green) 283
Turnout 38.6 per cent
Lib Dem hold
Ian Holder (Lib Dem) 1,428
Alicia Denney (Con) 943
Rebecca Ozaniec (Lab) 760
Elliott Lee (Green) 237
Turnout 30.4 per cent
Lib Dem hold