Local elections 2024: Reform UK say Havant residents wanted change as Tories lose control of council

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Reform UK are celebrating the Conservatives being dealt a bloody nose in the Havant Borough Council elections as the party loses control for the first time in 22 years.

Tory support in the borough crumbled as the number of councillors it has nose-dived from 30 to just 13 in the local elections. Of the 36 seats up for grabs after the boundary changes, there are now 13 Conservatives, 10 Labour, seven Lib Dems, four Greens and two Reform UK.

Among the shock results was Alex Rennie, the Conservative leader of the council, losing his seat and being beaten by Labour and Reform UK.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
Havant election count, Horizon Leisure Centre, Civic Centre Road, Havant Picture: Chris  Moorhouse (030524-32)Havant election count, Horizon Leisure Centre, Civic Centre Road, Havant Picture: Chris  Moorhouse (030524-32)
Havant election count, Horizon Leisure Centre, Civic Centre Road, Havant Picture: Chris Moorhouse (030524-32) | Chris Moorhouse

Reform’s Sharon Collings secured enough votes to be third councillor in the Leigh Park Central and West Leigh ward, joining Labour’s Munazza Faiz and Jason Horton in ousting Mr Rennie.

Speaking after the win, she said the Tories were washed out and the icing on the cake was unseating the council leader. Asked why she thought people turned to Reform UK, she said: “I think being honest with the residents. We've got a fantastic team, we've been out and about stomping the streets with residents’ letters, really getting in touch with residents, so they can really understand what the opportunities are ahead for them.”

She said people were “really ready for the change” which sees the Conservatives with the most number of seats but no overall control. The last time the council was under no overall control was between 1990 and 2002.

“Everyone's recognised it's time to change, they've taken the opportunity and they've run with it, and I can't be more happy,” she said. Across the country, the Conservatives have lost more than 400 councillors - but despite Reform picking up votes, have only two councillors so far. That is Sharon Collins and Victoria Rhodes, also elected to Havant Borough Council to represent Leigh Park Hermitage.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Fellow party member John Perry, who is vying to be the next MP for Havant, said Conservatives voters have told him they are turning their backs on the party. “I think Havant is a fairly unique constituency, we've got some wards with the highest level of economic deprivation in the country, and some of the most wealthy wards as well.

“What I believe Reform does, is it appeals to everybody. so I've gone around the wards, I've spoken to people in the perhaps, you know, wealthy areas, and they are fed up with the Conservative policies and what they've done to the country, nothing works.”

He added: “The government has cut funding substantially to the county councils, and they want change, people want change. I've met so many Conservative supporters who have told me they will not vote Conservative again, because of what the Conservatives have done to the country.”

Conservative Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has acknowledged a “disappointing” series of local election results and experts have warned the party could be on course to lose 500 seats in what could be their worst showing in 40 years.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.