Political parties at Lewes District Council elect new leaders

Isabelle Linington
Isabelle Linington

Lewes District Council is set to elect a new leader as the authority meets for the first time following the local elections later this month.

At a meeting on Monday (May 20) councillors are expected to vote on who will lead the council for the next four years and appoint its cabinet.

The meeting comes after some major changes to the membership of the council and its political makeup.

Just 14 out of the 41 councillors are returning for a second concurrent term, with many former councillors either standing down or failing to be re-elected earlier this month.

These include former Tory council leader Andy Smith, who lost his East Saltdean and Telscombe Cliffs seat.

However the Conservatives remain the largest single party, despite the group’s total number of councillors dropping from 20 to 19 – two seats short of overall control.

The Conservative group is now led by Isabelle Linington, ward councillor for Chailey, Barcombe and Hamsey and the previous council’s cabinet member for environmental impact.

As leader of the largest political group, Cllr Linington is also expected to be elected as the new leader of the council.

With nine seats the Green Party is now the second largest political group on the council, although the Liberal Democrats come a close second with eight members.

Both groups also have newly appointed leaders, with the Green Party to be led by Zoe Nicholson and the Liberal Democrats to be led by James MacCleary.

Both group leaders are also newly-elected to the council, with Cllr Nicholson representing Lewes Bridge and Cllr MacCleary representing Newhaven South.

The council now also has three Labour members, with their elections marking the first time the political group has sat on Lewes District Council for more than a decade.

The Labour group is led by Chris Collier, who was elected as member for Peacehaven East.

The council’s remaining two seats belong to the Independent group, which is jointly led by Lewes Priory councillor Ruth O’Keefe and Newhaven North councillor Steve Saunders.