Labour secures slenderest of majorities in Crawley council election

Crawley’s Labour group has secured a majority at the borough council but lost its leader.

Twelve seats were being contested when the town turned out to vote on Thursday (May 5) – five held by Labour, six by the Conservatives and one Independent.

When the count was complete on Friday afternoon (May 6), Labour had taken seven of those seats – including the long-time Tory Three Bridges – and the Conservatives had won five.

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Labour also regained control of Bewbush & North Broadfield after former party member Rory Fiveash (Independent) did not stand for re-election.

Labour members celebrate finishing on top in Crawley council election

The results left Labour with a total of 18 seats and the Tories with 17.

A by-election will be held next month for the final Southgate seat, which has been a safe Labour hold for years.

While the reds were celebrating their regained grip on the town, they were left with the task of selecting a new leader of the group and the council after Peter Lamb announced his decision to step down from the role.

Mr Lamb said: “I was 25 when I became Labour group leader. I’ve done the second longest term ever.

“I’m the first Labour group leader for years to be able to go on his own terms.

“I feel like I’ve done for now what I want to do and I want a short break from the intense politics that I have been doing.

“But I’m Crawley through and through and I’ll be here doing what I can [for] the community whatever happens.”

One possible candidate for the leadership is Michael Jones, who has been a member of the council since 2010.

He said he would be speaking with other councillors and deciding over the weekend whether he would like to stand for the role.

As for the results of the elections, he said he was ‘absolutely delighted’ with the way things had gone.

He added: “I think it shows that people in Crawley recognise the work that the Labour leadership has done over the past few years.

“Also I think it’s a really strong rejection of Boris Johnson’s government.”

Even before voting started, residents knew there would be some new faces on the council after six councillors chose to step down.

They were: Brenda Smith, who served as a Labour councillor for 35 years, Peter Smith (Lab, Ifield), Carol Eade (Con, Furnace Green), Rory Fiveash (Ind, Bewbush & North Broadfield), Morgan Flack (Lab, Southgate) and Bob Burgess (Con, Three Bridges).

Speaking after the results were announced, Bob Lanzer – who comfortably held on to his Pound Hill South & Worth for the Tories – said his party had put in a ‘strong performance’.

He said: “We pledge to be a constructive, effective opposition in Crawley – and I think our track record on that is evidenced by the strength of our vote today on what is really a low turnout.”

The results

Bewbush & North Broadfield – LAB GAIN

Tan BUI, of London (Independent) – 6

Robin BURNHAM (Independent) – 124

Jonathan PURDY (Conservative) – 534

Sharmila SIVARAJAH (Labour) – 893

Holly Rose SMITH (Green) – 224

Turnout – 25.1 per cent

Broadfield – LAB HOLD

Parveen Sarwar KHAN (Liberal Democrat) – 172

Valerie Susan KNIGHT (Conservative) – 680

Tim LUNNON (Labour) – 970

Carolina MORRA (Heritage Party) – 112

Turnout – 25.85 per cent

Furnace Green – CON HOLD

Allan Peter GRIFFITHS (Reform UK) – 91

Hazel HELLIER (Conservative) – 870

Angharad Dawn OLD (Liberal Democrat) – 115

Jason Robert Albert VINE (Labour And Co-operative Party) – 676

Turnout – 39.64 per cent

Ifield – LAB HOLD

Jilly HART (Labour) – 1,244

Lawrence Carl MALLINSON (Liberal Democrat) – 90

Ines Elva MANNING (Green Party) – 165

Martin Alan STONE (Conservative) – 939

Turnout – 34.12 per cent

Langley Green & Tushmore – LAB HOLD

Tahir Hussain ASHRAF (Conservative) – 470

Iain Bradley Martin DICKSON (Green Party) – 117

Tahira RANA (Labour) – 798

Mike SARGENT (Liberal Democrat) – 180

Turnout – 26.13 per cent

Maidenbower – CON HOLD

Jennifer MILLAR-SMITH (Conservative) – 1,080

Max PERRY (Green Party) – 629

Peter Charles SMITH (Labour) – 540

Turnout – 33.43 per cent

Northgate & West Green – LAB HOLD

David Lee ANDERSON (Liberal Democrat) – 134

John Richard ATHERTON (Green Party) – 219

Gurinder JHANS (Labour) – 1,021

Tony JOHNSON (Conservative) – 747

Turnout – 28.06 per cent

Pound Hill North & Forge Wood – CON HOLD

Tina BELBEN (Conservative) – 1,071

Justin RUSSELL (Labour) – 923

Turnout – 29.39 per cent

Pound Hill South & Worth – CON HOLD

Matthew Stephen GAFFAR (Labour) – 748

Cyril James GAMBRELL (Green Party) – 262

Bob LANZER (Conservative) – 1,214

Turnout – 36.18 per cent

Southgate – LAB HOLD

Andrew EASTMAN (Liberal Democrat) – 185

Robin David FITTON (Green Party) – 144

Yasmin KHAN (Labour) – 1,094

Jan TARRANT (Conservative) – 927

Turnout – 36.34 per cent

Three Bridges – LAB GAIN

Craig Martin BURKE (Conservative) – 866

Danielle KAIL (Green Party) – 153

Stephen PRITCHARD (Labour And Co-operative Party) – 1,161

Paul TAYLOR-BURR (Liberal Democrat) – 131

Turnout – 35.75 per cent

Tilgate – CON HOLD

Khayla ABU MOSA (Labour) – 752

Maureen MWAGALE (Conservative) – 795

Turnout – 35.35 per cent

Total turnout – 31.5 per cent

Karen Dunn , Local Democracy Reporting Service