CONSERVATIVES have held on to power in both East and West Sussex as other parties made gains.

Residents across the county headed to the polls on Thursday to elect councillors to seats on both district and county councils.

West Sussex

In West Sussex, the Tories managed to retain overall control.

After the votes were counted at the end of last week and into the weekend, the Liberal Democrats remain the largest minority party at County Hall.

Seats were also gained by Labour and the Greens.

The new composition of the 70-member West Sussex County council is:

  • Conservatives: 48 councillors
  • Liberal Democrats: ten councillors
  • Labour: nine councillors
  • Green Party: one councillor
  • Independent: one councillor
  • Local Alliance: one councillor

Becky Shaw, chief executive of West Sussex County Council, said: “The circumstances of these elections have been very unusual for all involved, and I’d like to say a huge thank you to all of the district and borough councils for running the local elections so efficiently and safely.

“A lot of work and effort goes into running any election, but the added challenges of running an election during the Covid-19 pandemic cannot be under-estimated.

“Thank you as well to everyone who ran the network of polling stations across the county and worked so hard to keep residents safe whilst they used their democratic right to vote.”

East Sussex

In East Sussex, the Conservatives managed to retain control of the county council.

The Tories picked up 27 out of 50 seats in East Sussex – two fewer than before.

The Liberal Democrats won 11 seats with 20.9 per cent of the vote.

The Green Party has secured its first-ever seats, taking four wards.

Labour won five seats in the county, while three went to independents.

The new composition of the 50-member East Sussex County Council is

  • Conservative: 27 councillors
  • Liberal Democrats: 11 councillors
  • Labour: five councillors
  • Independent: three councillors
  • Green Party: four councillors


Labour retained control of Hastings Borough Council. However, they were left with a reduced majority because of Conservatives gains.

The Tories won eight of the 16 seats contested. The Green Party gained one seat in the Old Hastings wards.


In Crawley, no party has overall control.

Labour won a narrow victory in 2019, but no party had overall control going in to the election.

This was due to the resignation of one councillor and the death of another. The Conservatives have one more seat than Labour with 18.

The Tories say they will begin talks to try and form an administration.


At Adur District Council, the Conservatives have held control.

This election saw an increased majority returned.

However the Green Party has won its first seat on the authority.


Labour gained five seats in Worthing, with the Conservatives only narrowly retaining control of the council in their Sussex heartlands.

The Conservatives lost four seats, and now have 19, with Labour on 15 and the Liberal Democrats three.

Labour 'bitterly dissapointed'

Labour’s shattering losses at the local council elections have thrown the party into turmoil.

Leader Sir Keir Starmer sacked Angela Rayner from her role as party chairwoman after announcing he was “bitterly disappointed” with the results and vowing to fix their election woes.

Ms Rayner’s sacking sparked criticism from Labour’s left including former shadow chancellor John McDonnell, while previous leader Jeremy Corbyn suggested Sir Keir’s Labour Party was “offering nothing” to voters.

The Argus:

The party’s losses included Southampton City Council which fell to Conservative Daniel Fitzhenry after nine years at the helm.

Meanwhile in Norfolk, election staff “limbered up” for the count by dancing to the Macarena, and followed the result with a Mexican wave.

By the close of Saturday, with results in from 129 of 143 English councils, the Tories had a net gain of 11 authorities and more than 280 seats, while Labour had a net loss of six councils and more than 220 seats. In the words of shadow cabinet minister Steve Reed, Labour also suffered an “absolutely shattering” defeat at the Hartlepool by-election, after more than 50 years holding the seat. Tory Jill Mortimer seized the seat from Labour with a stunning majority of 6,940.