Local elections 2022: Conservatives hold Bexley on dismal night in the capital

The Conservative leader Teresa O’Neill said that the borough of Bexley had “spoken with a strong voice” by voting in a Tory majority in what will be seen as a very good night for the local party.

The Conservatives have held onto Bexley Council in the 2022 local elections – losing only one seat in the process.

The south-east London borough has remained overwhelmingly blue despite national issues for the Tories.

Forty-five seats across 17 wards were contested in Bexley, with seven parties looking to gain a place on the new council.

The victorious Conservatives won 33 seats, while Labour won 12, giving the Tories a majority of 10.

The Conservative leader Teresa O’Neill said that the borough of Bexley had “spoken with a strong voice” by voting in a Tory majority in what will be seen as a very good night for the local party, despite some minor scares.

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But the Labour leader said that the net gain of one seat represented a success for the opposition.

Councillor Stefano Borella told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “I’m very happy. We were never going to win big.

“Our aim was to increase our vote. We won again tonight in Northumberland Heath and if you look at the results elsewhere – in Crayford and East Wickham – we pushed them close and we nearly won those seats as well so I’m absolutely delighted.

“We’ve pushed them close, we’ve got a good platform for next time, clearly the voters of Bexley don’t have confidence in the leadership of Boris Johnson and residents are realising more and more that they pay more and get less for their council tax.”

The opposition failed to capture the council in a borough where they have ruled three times previously and has swung between the major parties.

But they did come very close in the two wards of Crayford and East Wickham, where only dozens of votes separated the two parties.

The Bexley Tories’ win comes against a backdrop of issues for the national party, as they fight battles on domestic issues such as “partygate” and the cost of living crisis.

Some pundits believed local Tories could suffer as a result of the ongoing headlines about Downing Street parties and soaring energy bills, with the Conservatives struggling elsewhere in the capital on election night.

Locally, the Conservatives also found themselves facing a testing period last year when bin workers went on strike during the “summer of stink”. Rubbish piled outside people’s homes for weeks as private firm Serco, who ran the waste contract, clashed with Unite the Union over workers pay.