Political

Conservatives lose overall control of council following defection of two councillors

I’ve written before about how the Conservatives are having rather a bad run of council by-election defeats to the Lib Dems across southern England (not only on that amazing 1 December polling day) – a trend to keep an eye on with the May local elections not that far away now.

Now the Conservatives have lost their majority on a council too, though this time due to the actions of councillors rather than voters:

Liberal Democrats may be about to gain cabinet positions on a council after defections by two Conservatives lead to a loss of overall control by the Tories.

Lewes District Council leader Andy Smith [Conservative] told The Argus he was “open to discussion” with his Lib Dem counterpart.

It comes after the public eruption of a private row within the Lewes Conservative party.

Councillors Dave Neave and Wayne Botting, who sit on Peacehaven and Telscombe town councils as well as the district council, resigned from the party last week…

Their defection means the 40-strong council will have 19 rather than 21 Conservatives, and Cllr Smith will be leading a minority administration. [The Argus]