Former Portsmouth culture councillor hopes replacement will continue her work

THE councillor formerly in charge of culture and leisure hopes her replacement will carry on with her vision for the city.

Saturday, 5th May 2018, 7:31 am
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 5:35 pm
Tom Coles celebrates his success with colleagues. Picture Ian Hargreaves (180470)

Tory election candidate Linda Symes lost her St Jude seat to Labour’s Judith Smyth in Thursday’s vote.

Mrs Symes spent four years as a councillor on Portsmouth City Council and had been cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport throughout that time.

She said: ‘I had a great job for four years.

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Claire Udy celebrates her victory

‘I just hope whoever takes over my portfolio does that role justice.

‘We have done a lot of work in the city and I would like to see that work progress and carry on.’

Mrs Symes said she had a lot of fond memories of her four years as a councillor including securing libraries across Portsmouth.

‘Helping sustain the libraries is one of the things I am most proud of,’ she added.

‘We have lots of lovely open spaces now too and the water fountain near Southsea Castle will be a lasting legacy.

‘It looks great and really brightens up that area.

‘I am also proud of the work we have done with BH Live and getting them to run the leisure centres.

‘They pay us to run them rather than us paying thousands to keep them going.

‘There have been lots of great things like Victorious coming to Southsea Common, Mutiny in Cosham and offering more events for people across Portsmouth.

‘I hope whoever gets my job will help that continue.’

Mrs Symes’ recent stint as a councillor was her second time after she was elected in 2006 until 2010.

But she said she had not thought about her future in local politics yet.

Thursday’s local elections saw a shake-up of seats across the city with Portsmouth City Council’s largest party, the Conservatives, with one less seat.

The Liberal Democrats gained one more seat while Labour gained the most seats giving them six overall. Ukip lost all their seats.

The council will now have one independent councillor as opposed to two in one of the count’s most controversial surprises.

Councillor Claire Udy won the Charles Dickens seat as an independent with a majority of 115.

However, she was still down on the ballot papers as a Labour candidate due to her former affiliation with the party.

Cllr Udy resigned from the party just days before the election amid accusations of anti-semitism. Therefore, there were questions raised about if people knew what they were voting for.

All postal votes were submitted before she left the party.

Cllr Udy took the seat from fellow independent candidate Paul Godier. He was a councillor for four years before losing the seat.

He said: ‘I wish Claire luck and hope she fights for and looks after the ward.

‘This ward needs attention and what I am most disappointed about is that I am not there to give people the support they need and do all the running around to keep an eye on fly tipping and anti-social behaviour.’

Speaking about Cllr Udy being listed as a Labour candidate on the ballot papers, Mr Godier added: ‘I think it’s the postal votes that would have had the biggest impact.

‘If it was clear to those voters, I am not sure the outcome would have been the same.

‘But I wish her well, she does seem committed to the ward. For me, it doesn’t matter that she left the Labour party but what does matter is what she does next and I hope she remains independent.’

Mr Godier also raised concerns about the low turnout for the ward, which was 20 per cent.

He said it was an issue all parties should be worried about.