A LEIGH councillor won an historic victory at this May’s local elections, by becoming the first Green Party seat ever won at Southend Council.
Richard Longstaff won the Leigh seat left vacant by Lib Dem Ashley Thompson securing 1,042 votes, well ahead of second place Lib Dem Syrie Cox who won 835 votes.
Mr Longstaff described himself as “elated [and] emotional” on election night.
The historic significance of the win was evident to him, as he said: “Ultimately, it’s the symbolism of this win that is so important, for Southend to have its first Green Party councillor.
“That vote total is a really strong message from the people of Leigh that they want change and they want a society that cares for its environment and residents.”
He added: “I am really honoured to be in a position where so many people in my ward put their trust in me, and that feels like a real privilege.”
In Chalkwell Ward, Donna Richardson of Labour and Co-operative Party took the seat, and in Chalkwell, Stephen Habermel won. Owen Cartey of the Conservatives took West Leigh.
The wider picture at Southend Council remains the same, with no majority in overall control.
The results saw Labour and the Conservatives both make gains, whilst Independent seats saw a significant loss, still leaving the current “rainbow coalition” of Labour and Liberal Democrats in place, despite the Lid Dems losing one seat.
Turnout this year was lower than previously, at 30.47 per cent, down 2.27% on 2021.
The wider picture nationally saw the Tories suffer wide losses, losing nearly 1,000 seats.
Despite this grim national result, the Tory MP for Southend West, Anna Firth, remained optimistic, saying: ““I am delighted with the Conservatives overall position in Southend, particularly when you compare it to the national picture.”
Leigh Town Council elections rang a number of changes.
Hirschell Ward elected David Bowry and Judith Sutling, whilst St Clement’s Ward elected Carol Lambert and Carole Mulroney.
St James Ward elected lan Hart, and Thames Ward elected Murat Agdeve and Paul Gilson.
Leigh Town Councillors were contacted for comment.
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