Conservatives now smallest party after losing two seats. Independents hold Bishopstoke and become the second party.
Eastleigh’s Liberal Democrats have successfully defended all their seats and won two seats from the Conservatives to consolidate their control of the council in yesterday’s Local Elections (May 2).
The Conservatives are now the third and smallest party on the council with just two members. Michael Hughes had been a Conservative councillor for 14 years representing Hiltingbury – a ward that lies within the Winchester Parliamentary Constituency- for the last 10 years while Steve Broomfield gives up his seat in Fair Oak after just one year.
Bishopstoke’s three independents now lead the opposition group after Ray Dean held off the Lib Dems who had leafleted hard in the ward to try to win back Trevor Mignot’s seat but Bishopstoke residents continue to back the independents who are opposed to housing development to the North of the parish.
Nationally the pro-Brexit parties – the Conservatives, Labour and Ukip lost councillors to pro-remain parties, both the Lib Dems and the Greens. Speaking on Sky News the town’s Conservative MP, Mims Davies said that a low turnout had been a factor as well as the failure to deliver Brexit, though if discontent over Brexit was a factor – then Ukip failed to capitalise on it.
The Leader of the Conservative group on the council, Judith Grajewski, simply told Eastleigh News “I am very disappointed.
The results mean that the Lib Dems have improved on their performance last year – in Eastleigh South for example the Mayor Elect Darshan Mann won with a comfortable majority in a ward that had in recent years had seen the vote close enough to trigger a recount.
A jubilant Cllr House told Eastleigh News:
“This is a fantastic result here for the Liberal Democrats in Eastleigh tonight with our biggest ever majorities winning 12 of the 13 seats and beating both the sitting Conservatives. Which means for the first time ever the Conservatives are the third party.”