Local elections: Portsmouth City Council Conservatives 'disappointed' as all political rivals gain seats at their expense

DESPONDENT Conservatives have called for change in Westminster after a difficult election night in Portsmouth.

Thursday, 5th May 2022, 10:42 pm
Updated Friday, 6th May 2022, 5:28 pm

At the local election count in Portsmouth Guildhall, the Liberal Democrats, Labour Party and Portsmouth Independents all capitalised on voter resentment towards prime minister Boris Johnson, making gains in wards across the city.

Of the 14 seats up for grabs, the Lib Dems and Labour claimed five each, with two going to the Portsmouth Independents and another two to the Conservatives.

The make-up of the council is now 17 Liberal Democrats, 13 Conservatives, nine Labour, and three Portsmouth Independent Party.

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It's been a difficult night for Conservatives in Portsmouth. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

Portsmouth North Conservative chairman, Robert New, said: 'There are so many good candidates who are getting stung by the appalling behaviour from those in Downing Street. Hopefully after tonight's results the MPs can find their balls and finally get rid of the prime minister.’

In a hotly-contested Hilsea ward, lord mayor and long-standing councillor Frank Jonas was ousted by a margin of just 22 votes.

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Yinka Adeniran, right, celebrates with Stephen Morgan MP. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

Cllr Simon Bosher, the Conservative leader in Portsmouth, said: ‘It’s been a disappointing evening and we’ve lost some very good councillors who have served their wards with distinction.

‘We’ve seen a degree of voter frustration because of what’s happened in Westminster and if things don’t change we’ll find ourselves in the exact same position in next year’s elections.’

Although they have won more seats, the Liberal Democrats still do not have a majority.

It appears the party will continue to run the city council as a minority, with leader Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson ruling out any coalition.

He said: ‘We’ve gained seats and are still the largest party in Portmouth, so it’s been a really good night.

‘Meanwhile it’s the Tories’ worst election night in the city since 1997. I’m very pleased by the result.’

The feelgood story of the night came from the Charles Dickens ward, where Labour Party candidate Yinka Adeniran became the first African to be elected to the city council.

She said: ‘I’m super excited and feel so grateful to everyone who voted for me, the Labour Party and God.

‘It was a tough job, going from house-to-house and making sure I spoke to everyone, but I care so much about my community.

‘I hope I’ve opened the door for other minorities, and will make the most of this opportunity that has been given to me.’