According to Helen Whately and Brandon Lewis, the Vice Chair and Chair of the Tory Party, the results from yesterdays local elections have strengthened the need for the Government and the Opposition to resolve our departure from the EU. This is clearly nonsensical. The majority of voters have indicated that their party requires a major destruction, however based on the results here in Sussex there has been a major shift from the Conservatives to the two parties that locally have a clear focus on retaining our role in the EU. The votes for both the Liberal Democrats and Greens clearly point towards both a fresh referendum and a remain rather than a departure from the EU. We are facing a major impact in 9 out of the 11 Districts, Boroughs or Unitary Authority across Sussex that were involved in the elections. The final results show that 4 out of the 9 have changed from being Tory led to having No Overall Control. To put these changes into perspective Chichester had 86%, Rother 84%, Arun 78% and Lewes a much more moderate 59% of Conservative Councillors. The biggest loss was in Rother where the Tories now represent a mere 37% of the seats. These four Councils have all shown a significant shift towards Greens and Liberal Democrats and indeed this is also the case in Mid Sussex where the control remains in the hands of the Tories, but they have gone from 100% of the seats to 63% and the Greens or Lib Dems have won 80% of the seats lost by the Tories and also in Wealden where the Tories reduced their dominance by 6 seats which have now been won over, four by the Lib Dems and two by the Greens which is a major change. Here in Brighton and Hove the Greens have increased their position from 20% of the seats to 35% which is a major shift and in Brighton as in Horsham and Worthing, the increase towards Labour should indicate to the local MPs that those voters have changed their views a great deal over the last few years and therefore their views about the EU need reconsidering.
To put it another way across Sussex as a whole we have seen the Tory Councillors reduced by 1/3 and the much small number of UKIP Councillors reduce from 7 to 1. Meanwhile although Labour has increased by nearly 50% the Lib Dems have increased by 113% and the Greens by nearly 200%. For all the local MPs but particularly those whose Councils have been most heavily impacted: Nick Gibb from Arun, Gillian Keegan from Chichester and Huw Merriman from Rother to continue to act as though their constituents have not changed their views over the last four years is clearly mistaken. Even in the case of Nicholas Soames from Mid Sussex and Nusrat Ghani in Wealden now is the time to start listening to their constituents over the future of our role in Europe and also for them to change their thinking about the impact we have on the environment.