Leadership of Portsmouth City Council due to be decided at meeting today

LEADERSHIP at Portsmouth City Council could be in for a shake-up next week as councillors meet for the first time since elections.

Monday, 13th May 2019, 7:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 14th May 2019, 10:42 am
From left, Labour leader Stephen Morgan, Conservative leader Donna Jones and Lib Dem leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson Picture: Habibur Rahman

At the inaugural full council meeting of this political year later today the administration is due to be decided with everything to play for following the inconclusive results of the recent elections that gave no party a majority.

Current council leader and head of the city's Liberal Democrats, Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, could be re-elected if councillors vote in his favour.

But former leader and Conservative boss Cllr Donna Jones is also in the running as her party only holds two fewer seats than the Lib Dems.

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The News will be covering the council meeting live on our website this afternoon – our live blog will be live from about 2pm.

After elections last week the current make-up of the council is 18 Lib Dems, 16 Tories, six Labour and two independents.

Speaking on the morning of the elections Cllr Vernon-Jackson was hopeful for his party. ‘We are now the largest party in the council and we have managed to gain seats every year for the past three years,' he said.

‘This shows that people like what we are doing. We have been getting the basics right.'

Once a leader is chosen their party will select councillors to serve as cabinet members for different portfolios such as education, housing and health and wellbeing.

But there are talks that this system could be put to one side for the more cross-party committee style of local government.

Cllr Jones said: ‘I predict this means Portsmouth is going to have no overall control for the next three or four years. It would be good if we could work in a more cross-party way.’

The power could be held by members of the city's Labour group, as with six councillors could sway the vote for leadership.

But speaking after the elections leader of the Portsmouth Labour group and Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan did not give anything away. He said: ‘The party has always voted with what we think is best. And we will continue to do that on a case-by-case basis.’

A new lord mayor will also be elected today.