Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Liberal Democrats retain Portsmouth council leadership

Gerald Vernon-Jackson
Image caption Gerald Vernon-Jackson previously led Portsmouth City Council with the support of Labour members

The Liberal Democrats have retained the leadership of Portsmouth City Council following the local elections.

They gained two seats, Labour gained one and the Conservatives lost three after the vote on 2 May.

It meant the Lib Dems were the largest party, with no group in overall control.

Lib Dem Gerald Vernon-Jackson was elected leader of the authority by a single vote, as Labour members abstained at a full council meeting.

The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats went into the election each holding 17 seats, with the Labour Party previously supporting a Lib Dem minority administration.

With Labour councillors abstaining in the vote for council leader, Mr Vernon-Jackson won 18 votes, one more than Conservative group leader Donna Jones.

Mr Vernon-Jackson said: "We will continue to work to put forward policies that we hope will be the right ones for the city council and keep working with others as much as we possibly can."

Following the council's declaration of a climate emergency earlier this year, he announced a portfolio for environment and climate change would be created.

Ms Jones said she was "disappointed" to have lost the leadership vote.

"Hopefully this time next year I will be back at the helm. I am worried about the finances of the council under the Lib Dem rule like the increased debt in adult and children's services," she added.

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Media captionPortsmouth party leaders react to the results on election night

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