Green councillors have questioned the legitimacy of May’s local elections after hundreds of postal votes arrived too late to be counted.

Brighton and Hove City Council revealed that 1,423 postal votes cast in the elections last month were not counted because postal service delays mean they arrived after the deadline on May 4.

While it is not known which wards the uncounted votes were cast in, Green councillors have noted they may have affected the outcomes of three wards which were decided by very narrow margins.

Former deputy leader of the council Hannah Allbrooke lost her seat to Labour by six votes in Brunswick and Adelaide, with former Green councillor Leo Littmann falling short by 32 votes in Preston Park and Green candidate Ricky Perrin losing to Labour by just a single vote in Regency.

The council’s interim chief executive and returning officer Will Tuckley has called on Royal Mail bosses to finalise their investigation into the late delivery of postal votes, which made up almost five per cent of those issued and received.

However, the Green Party has called for an independent investigation and said it is “ready to take further action if necessary”.

The Argus:

Green group leader Steve Davis said: “This deeply concerning news is leading people across the city to ask whether there was potential foul play in the election held last month.

“There are serious questions to be asked. Why were voters not told sooner that 1,423 of them were not counted? Who decided to keep this quiet? If those votes were counted, what would the result of the election have been?

“Is it a fair election if huge numbers of ballots go ignored?

“Democracy depends on every vote being counted and we’ve just been told that they weren’t.

“The city need thorough answers and they need them quickly. Greens will be ensuring they get them.”

Mr Tuckley urged Royal Mail to swiftly conclude the investigation so council officials can understand when the votes were posted and should have been delivered.

He said: “It is possible that these postal votes were placed in post boxes across the city on polling day and therefore would not have been received by the deadline. However, we need certainty.

“It is essential that Royal Mail’s leadership understands the importance of their service in the delivery of elections.”