Crawley Observer Column, Wednesday 8th May 2019

A huge thanks to those who turned out to do their democratic duty and vote, I’m particularly grateful to those who voted for their local Labour candidates and to my own residents in Northgate and West Green.

Going into this election, boundary changes had already affected the council’s composition. Northgate and West Green wards were merged, meaning the four Labour seats went down to three. Likewise, Broadfield’s two wards were merged meaning four seats Labour had held were cut to three. Meanwhile, Conservative-held Three Bridges went up from two seats to three. In 2018, Labour had 20 seats to the Conservatives’ 17, the new boundaries meant both parties notionally started the campaign with 18 seats each.

On Thursday, Labour won the Conservatives’ seats in Ifield and Southgate but lost our seat in Tilgate, meaning the final result of 19 to 17 represented a net Labour gain of one seat. On top of that, Labour won 47% of the popular vote to the Conservatives’ 41%, which in a General Election would mean Labour won the seat with a majority of over 3,000. Despite a surge in support for minor parties, helping the Conservatives to retain their seats in several areas, the council remains entirely Labour or Conservative.

So, for a fifth election running Crawley Labour has been chosen to run the council, and while I am very grateful to residents for giving us the chance to continue working for you, this result was far closer than opinion polls had suggested.

All the political chatter, both before and after the Local Elections, has been about Brexit, how it is affecting political support and what should now be done. The problem is, in speaking with thousands of Crawley residents over the course of this campaign, behind every door there seems to be a different position on Brexit, with those saying that they weren’t voting for Labour because of Brexit fitting into both the Remain and Leave camps, making it far from clear exactly what people were trying to say to politicians.

Regardless, on the ground our concern is the town, and this result means Crawley Labour can go on delivering for Crawley.

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