When news happens, text SDE and your photos or videos to 80360. Or contact us by email and phone.
Find by date
Other ways to search
Also look for
Borough stays true blue
THE Conservatives have tightened their grip on Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council – and are now set to squeeze the life out of the deputy mayor’s last chance of becoming mayor.
Newly elected Terri Reid (second left), Conservative winner in Hatch Warren and Beggarwood
Fighting in Hatch Warren and Beggarwood, rather than the Kempshott ward she held for seven years, Basingstoke Community Party leader Christine Heath, wife of deputy mayor Councillor Phil Heath, lost out to the ruling Tories.
Two other candidates standing for Basingstoke Community Party – fighting on the Saving Basingstoke Mayoral Constitution ticket – also failed to make an impact.
Cllr Heath is next in line to be mayor under the traditional seniority principle. However, he is facing a probe into four alleged councillors’ code of conduct breaches, and the controlling Tories have been blocking his elevation to the post.
Ahead of this week’s vote on who will be mayor, the local election results – and the possible loss of Conservative seats – was Cllr Heath’s last realistic hope of becoming first citizen.
But his wife’s defeat in an election where a third of the council’s 60 seats were up for grabs, and the Conservative capture of the Kempshott seat, extended the Conservative majority from six to eight. This means that on Thursday, the majority Tories are likely to back their candidate for mayor – fellow Conservative Cllr Keith Chapman.
Mrs Heath lost to Conservative candidate Terri Reid, the wife of former council leader Cllr Stephen Reid, and her former Kempshott seat was won by 30-year-old lawyer Hayley Eachus, daughter of Chineham borough councillor Elaine Still.
On a good day for the Tory women, the biggest win – a whopping 2,101 majority – went to Onnalee Cubitt who retained a Basing seat which three years ago was in Liberal Democrat hands. Cllr Cubitt said fighting development had been a key part of her campaign.
The opposition Liberal Democrats were pleased to retain all their seats and felt they had made progress elsewhere, leaving group leader John Shaw, who retained Brookvale and Kings Furlong, to declare: “All the results locally have been good for us.”
Labour’s sitting councillors retained their seats, but former mayor Tony Jones failed in his comeback bid in Buckskin, where Conservative Robert Taylor won and the only BNP candidate trailed in a poor last.
Labour group leader Cllr Laura James, who retained her Norden seat, claimed the Conservatives had not done as well in the borough as they did in the General Election. But council leader Cllr Andrew Finney, who retained his seat in Oakley and North Waltham, said the Conservatives had increased their vote “substantially”.
The Conservatives now have 34 borough councillors, the Liberal Democrats 14, and Labour nine. There are two independents and one member of Basingstoke Community Party on the council.