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

Friday, May 6th, 2022 7:53pm

By Karen Dunn - Local Democracy Reporter

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.

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

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