A message from the Chair: we did it!

You will probably have already heard the results from the 2019 TWBC elections – but I just wanted to let you know that Tunbridge Wells CLP doubled its representation on Tunbridge Wells Borough Council by winning 2 of its 3 target council seats and coming agonisingly close in a third where we tied with the Conservatives and lost on the drawing of lots. Here’s CLP Chair Jenny Blackburn’s take on what was a great result for Tunbridge Wells Labour.

Luke Everitt won Southborough and High Brooms with 50% of the vote making it a clean sweep of councillors in the ward now alongside Councillors Di Hill and Alain Lewis. 

Hugo Pound won Sherwood by 11 votes over the Conservatives giving us representation in this ward for the first time in over a decade. 

Ray Moon increased the Labour vote substantially in Paddock Wood West compared to 2018 but sadly lost on a drawing of lots to the Conservatives when tied with 289 votes. 

In other great news Labour are also now the biggest party on Southborough Town Council again and in effective control. Congratulations to Nick Blackwell and the other 8 town councillors elected. 

In other wards Labour came second in Rusthall to the Liberal Democrats with Bjorn Simpole beating the Conservatives into third place. In this Tunbridge Wells branch priority seat we fell a little short of expectations but still increased the Labour vote from 204 in the last local election in 2016 to 346 this year. 

Across other non target wards the labour vote did suffer from a concerted tactical voting effort from non voters to ensure that the Conservatives lost as many councillors as possible as a result of their ongoing desire to deliver the costly and unnecessary Civic Centre complex scheme. Leader David Jukes and Cabinet member Tracy Moore both lost to the Tunbridge Wells Alliance with the Conservatives overall losing 13 of the 18 seats that they were defending. 

After campaigning for many years in Paddock Wood as a Labour candidate it was a massive achievement to actually get to the position of potentially winning a Borough Council Election in this Tory stronghold in PW. PW has never had a Labour Cllr. To have a tie and to basically lose on a ” Toss of a Coin” was extremely difficult to experience after all that time & effort. That said we learn and will do better next time. PW West is a winnable seat and we will never give up in PW in the fight against the Tories. Thank you to all members who contributed their time and effort in various ways to these successes. We couldn’t have done it without you.

Ray Moon – Paddock Wood West 

“I am grateful to all those who helped in the campaign. Our strength as a local party comes from our members and their willingness to help. The victories we achieved are a collective achievement, from funds contributed by members to the time given by those who were in position to do so. The Southborough Town Council candidates all went above and beyond. I loved working with them and I’m happy that this will continue as they have all won a seat! Hugo Pound’s victory was hard fought and it is outstanding that we once again have a borough councillor in Sherwood. I think Hugo’s determination and the fantastic work by Joel Turner and Rod Taylor via social media were key. Ray Moon’s result was a culmination of decades of work in Paddock Wood and to not gain the seat as a result of luck is frustrating. Bjorn Simpole’s result shows that focused work can pay off and with more advantageous national circumstances the result could have been different. I think our focus on local issues was key and these have been shaped by local people. We have to ensure our actions continue to be shaped by our members and residents. We must keep our finger on the pulse for local issues for future campaigns. Going forward I feel positive and I hope the whole local party is emboldened by these results.”

Councillor Luke Everitt – Southborough and High Brooms and Tunbridge Wells Branch election agent

“I am so grateful to everyone in the party who gave support and encouragement over the last couple of months in helping us to gain a seat in Sherwood; I am there as a representative of our local party and will now do everything I can with my three Council colleagues to shape a very different kind of agenda for both the ward and the whole Borough. I look forward to catching up with everyone soon”. 

Cllr Hugo Pound – Sherwood 

View the full results here on the TWBC website.

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