Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper

Counting the local election vote at Horntye sports centre (photo: HBC).

Tories’ PCC solace and encouraging turnout in the locals

Some solace for local Conservatives after their poor local election results was provided by Katy Bourne, who came home an easy winner yet again in the election for Sussex police and crime commissioner. Meanwhile estimates show a somewhat higher turnout for last week’s local elections than in recent years. Text by Nick Terdre, graphics by Russell Hall.

Conservative Katy Bourne has been re-elected to the post of police and crime commissioner (PCC) for the Sussex area with 122,495 votes, extending her time in the post for another four years. She was first elected when the post was created in 2012.

Her nearest challenger was Labour’s Paul Richards, who gained 99,502 votes, with the Liberal Democrats’ Jamie Bennett (48,923) and the Greens’ Jonathan Kent (43,105) lagging well behind.

As a proportion Bourne took 39% of the vote, Richards 31.7%, Bennett 15.6% and Kent 13.7%.

Labour came out on top in five of the 13 electoral areas, however: Adur, Brighton - where Richards polled almost as many votes as the other three candidates combined - Crawley, Hastings and Worthing. The Tories took all the other areas, including Rother and, perhaps a little surprisingly, Lewes.

With the exception of Brighton, the turnout was highest, at more than 30%, in the areas won by Labour, where local council elections were also held. Hastings led the way, with 37.1%, although 508 of the 23,962 verified ballots were rejected. In the Tory-won areas it was in the low 20s, with Rother the lowest, at 21.5%. Overall turnout was 24.5%. (For detailed breakdown see table at end of article.)


Hastings Borough Council has yet to publish turnout for the local elections, but comparing voting figures against electoral data from the Local Government Boundary Commission suggests that across the 16 wards it averaged 37.3%, a lot higher than the PCC turnout across Sussex.

For the council elections the turnout was the highest since 2018’s 37.6%, when elections for all seats were held after ward boundary changes came into effect. However, way out in front this century was the turnout of 61.9% recorded in 2010, when the local elections coincided with a general election.

A reasonably high level of interest was expected given the recent upheavals in the council and the prospect of a looming general election.

There was quite a variation in turnout across the wards, from a low of 28.1% in Wishing Tree to a high of 48.7% in Old Hastings. Five of the six wards with the highest turnout - all above 41% - were won by Greens.

The second lowest turnout, 28.5%, was registered in Hollington, despite Hastings Independents’ best efforts to get former deputy council leader Maya Evans re-elected in this traditional Labour stronghold.

No fewer than 12 of those elected are new councillors.

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Posted 17:54 Tuesday, May 7, 2024 In: Elections


Please read our comment guidelines before posting on HOT

  1. Russell Hall

    Under the previous PCC voting system if half of the Lib Dem 2nd preference votes and 80% of the Greens’ went to the Labour candidate then he would have won by 158,448 votes to 155,578.

    Progressives who advocate for tactical voting and run websites informing voters of the strongest progressive candidate in their area missed a trick in the PCC elections as if a quarter of the Lib Dem and Green vote in Sussex had gone to the Labour candidate instead then he would have won by 122,509 votes to 122,495, but they and the commentariat only seem bothered about Westminster elections.

    Comment by Russell Hall — Tuesday, May 14, 2024 @ 23:29

  2. neville austin

    Would the Tory have won PCC under any proportional represenation system? In Sussex it seems, from the numbers, that both the LDs and Greens are clear minorities getting nowhere in first past the post. If they had had a second choice vote where would their second choice votes have gone? Are Greens and LDs basically more Tory or more Labour? I suspect most are anti-Tory yet it was the Tory, with only a minority of the total vote, who got swept in – with a grin.

    Comment by neville austin — Monday, May 13, 2024 @ 18:15

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