By Connor Steel
FAREHAM CONSERVATIVES sealed a surprise success within the Borough Council on Thursday evening as Harry Davis gained the vacant third seat in Portchester East following a tight by-election, which saw him replace Liberal Democrats Councillor Jean Kelly who resigned last month after relocating north to Liverpool.
Mr Davis won thirty-eight percent of the vote with 957 to seal a party gain, beating Liberal Democrats’ Ciaran Urry Tuttiett by just twenty five votes and 1%. Labour’s candidate Dominic Martin won 379 votes (15%) whilst Dave Wiltshire of the Fareham Independent Group came bottom of the list with 11% of the share (275 votes).
Another eight ballots were rejected as turnout was only 29% overall; heavy rain showers and ongoing Royal Mail strike action arguably taking its toll during a day which saw Westminster events take centre stage. Full results including charts and related information can be seen via this Fareham Borough Council election hub.
Victory means that Mr Davis, who came third in the same seat back in May’s council elections, joins Liberal Democrats Chrissie Bainbridge and Paul Nother in representing Portchester East; with the ward having three councillors due to its large population and size compared to fellow Fareham Borough Council voting areas.
It also represents further control for the Conservative Party with another seat secured, adding to the twenty-five already in place following May’s council elections. As it stands Fareham Tories represent 26 of thirty-one ward seats, ahead of Liberal Democrats (4) and the single Independent representative in Titchfield Common.
Local Conservative leader Sean Woodward paid tribute to his new colleague Mr Davies, saying: “Councillor Harry Davis will make an excellent, caring Councillor for Portchester and his success shows the esteems in which the local Conservative administration at Fareham is held. Thank you to the residents of Portchester for placing your trust in the Conservatives following over 20 years of Liberal domination.” (across the East Ward)
Fareham MP and former Home Secretarty Suella Braverman congratulated her local party on their victory as she said online this morning: “Con GAIN from the Liberal Democrats this evening in Portchester, Fareham. A stunning victory for Cllr Harry Davis who ran an excellent campaign. Well done (to all the) @FarehamTories.”
The next Fareham Borough Council meeting is due to take place at 6pm on October 27 (next Thursday) in the Civic Offices’ chamber, with the agenda and minutes available for voters here. Readers can also digest information on all previous meetings, including committees and boards, by browsing through this council link.
PICTURED BY SUELLA BRAVERMAN TWITTER: New councillor poses in photo with MP Suella Braverman in campaign trail earlier this month, which saw him achieve narrow by-election victory on Thursday evening.