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Liberal Democrats retain Gosport despite losing seat

By Connor Steel

GOSPORT LIBERAL DEMOCRATS were celebrating during the early hours of Friday morning (May 3) as they retained overall control of the Borough Council for at least two more years; the party doing enough to maintain a narrow majority despite losing one seat as official results were declared at the Leisure Centre following the local elections on Thursday.

Fifteen seats were being decided following the all-out election held back in May 2022; each ward seeing one councillor elected with the exception of Lee West due to recent resignations. The remaining thirteen seats were not to be decided as they are only halfway through the four year cycle with the next round of local elections for Gosport due in May 2026.

It proved a “long night” for everybody involved with the results being declared between 3:02am and 4:38am; the Liberal Democrats winning eight seats including the re-election of Cllr Peter Chegwyn in Forton ward. In his victory speech the current council leader stated: “We have won more seats than the other parties combined” and this work would carry on.

Mr Chegwyn further referenced his ‘lenghly’ political career as he said: “This is my 21st election campaign and the 20th victory since 1983 so not a poor record.” But he didn’t rule out a twenty-second straight race for election in 2026 before thanking the Returning Officer for his effort in ensuring that everything went as smoothly as possible through this night.

The leading party also held their seats in Bridgemary, Brockhurst and Privett, Elson, Hardway, Lee East, Leesland and Newtown alongside the Rowner and Holbrook ward. But it wasn’t a perfect clean sweep as they lost the Peel Common seet to the Conservative Party by 99 votes, meaning that they now have the total of fifteen councillors in the Town Hall.

A “re-count” was needed for the Grange and Alver Valley ward as just eleven votes decided the outcome for the Tories; whilst there was also small majorities for the victors in Lee East alongside the Harbourside and Town ward. Overall the Conservatives got six seats out of the fifteen with Labour clinching their seat in Harbourside and Town; one of only two.

In comparision the Green Party struggled throughout the count as they came “last” for multiple wards; whilst the single Reform Party Candidate came joint third in Forton Ward. Meanwhile there was a new arrival to the ballot papers in the form of the recently formed Heritage Party; who came fourth in Elson and earned credit for their efforts in a fair contest.

Readers can explore the detailed results from each ward by clicking this link; whilst they are encouraged to visit media sites such as BBC News, Sky News and ITV for developments / analysis on all elections being held across the country.

PICTURED BY CONNOR STEEL: Officials count ballot papers in early hours of Friday morning to elect ‘council seats’.