‘Change has come today’ says Labour’s newest councillor after historic Worthing by-election win

‘Change has come today’ according to Labour’s newest Worthing borough councillor after a historic by-election result.

Vicki Wells (Labour) was elected as the new Marine ward councillor with 1,239 votes to Conservative candidate Syed Ahmed’s 972 votes.

Two other candidates contested the seat: Green Party candidate Sonya Mallin won 145 votes and Emma Norton received 112 votes for the Lib Dems.

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The seat became vacant following the resignation of former Conservative councillor Tim Wills.

He allegedly posted messages in a private Telegram group chat affiliated with Patriotic Alternative (PA), according to an article published by anti-racism and anti-fascism campaign group Hope not Hate.

An investigation into his conduct is ongoing.

The by-election has given Labour 17 seats on the council – the same number as the Conservatives.

There are also two Lib Dem councillors and one independent councillor who is suspended by the Conservative group pending an investigation into historic Tweets.

Vicki Wells surrounded by Labour supporters after her by-election win

WBC has 37 seats in total and 19 are needed for a majority.

This means that the council has fallen into no overall control; something that has not happened since 2003.

The council also has an election in May 2022, when a third of the seats will be contested.

Speaking after the by-election, Ms Wells said: “I think the message is we’re not going away and there’s more of the same compassionate, dedicated, environmentally focused, energised residents, who are fed up with the concrete nature of our town.

“Change has come today in the form of me, but I’m only one person.

“May is coming up and, were we to replicate any of these results across any of the other 13 wards across Worthing, then that is another historic moment to look forward to.”

Ms Wells says that ‘conduct in public office has got to change’.

She also said she looks forward to improving the lives of Worthing’s ‘hard working families and young people’ as well as working to alleviate the climate emergency.