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Guildford Borough Election Results – Lib Dems Take Control With a Majority of Two

Published on: 5 May, 2023
Updated on: 6 May, 2023

Lib Dems celebrate after winning a majority at the May 2023 GBC elections

By Martin Giles and Hugh Coakley

The Lib Dems have taken control of Guildford Borough Council. Their 25 seats mean they have two more than the opposition parties combined.

The Residents for Guildford and Villages were the main losers on the day with their seat tally, despite a surge later in the count, decreasing to seven.

Given the national political background, the Conservatives will be pleased to have seen even a modest gain of two seats as a success.

And there were smiles too among Labour party members who now have three borough councillors, one of whom was the first Labour winner in Westborough for some years.

Scroll down for result by result report

8.15pm FINAL Result Lib Dem gain control of GBC with a majority of two seats. Lib Dems 25, Conservatives 10, R4GV 7, GGG 3, Lab 3.

The Guildford Dragon team are at the Guildford Borough Council election count in its usual venue, Spectrum Leisure Centre.

10.40: Lib Dems win St Nicolas

The first result has been announced and it is effectively a Liberal Democrat hold at the new single seat ward of St Nicolas.

The R4GV result has dropped from 2019. Could it be concern over their development plans? We need more results to be sure but the Lib Dems only need to gain seven seats to take control of the borough council.

Winning candidate Tom Hunt said: He is glad the hostile campaign is over and is just delighted to be elected and with the 50.1 per cent turnout. Party leader Julia mcShane added her congratulations to Tom and she was delighted that the Lib Dem win.

It was expected that the results would be announced in reverse alphabetic order but seats with few seats and candidates are likely to come first.

One Conservative has some optimism about about Worplesdon where in 2019 R4GV had a clean sweep.

Tillingbourne or Effingham might be the next results.

GGG not looking to happy about Shalford and Worplesdon, with its 12 candidates, is said to be neck and neck probably between the Conservatives and R4GV.

11.30: Lib Dems Hold Effingham

This result was expected but it is still good news for the Lib Dems. Who have secured 65% of the vote.

Martin Giles reporting from the count

Joss Bigmore, leader of Residents for Guildford & Villages, is not at the count. He has had an eye operation to fix a detached retina.

Now looking as if Pilgrims might be next and Conservatives are looking confident. This is an enlarged ward under the boundary changes, now incoporates Tongham and has two councillor seats.

If the Tories do win it will mean former deputy GBC leader Matt Furniss will be back at Millmead. It will be intersting to see if he makes a pitch for the leadership of the Conservative group at GBC. The current leader is not expecting to win at Westborough.

12.15: An off record Lib Dem comment: “Today is going to be a mixed bag for everyone based on the numbers I’ve seen.”

23,000 postal vote pack have been issued and by last Friday (Apr  28) 11, 500 had been returned. The total electorate in the borough is 103,005.

12.25 Worplesdon now looking tight between, Conservatives, Libs Dems and R4GV.

12.33 Lull between results continues allowing attendees to chat. Many inter party conversations.

Following the reported three-way split in Worplesdon we are geeting news of a possible four-way split in the Stoke ward with Labour and the Greens in the mix with R4GV and the Lib Dems.

12.40 Tories hoping to make gains in Worplesdon but personal following for Bob McShee might count for him.

12.45 RESULT Lib Dems effectively hold Stoughton North. R4GV beaten into fourth place.

12.55 RESULT Stoughton South Lib Dem Effective hold

Two more seats for the Lib Dems and with the repeated reduction of the R4GV vote it is looking good for the Lib Dems to take overall control of GBC. Six out of six wins for the Lib Dems.

Winning candidates are refusing to be interviewed on video.

Worplesdon result imminent.

1.19 RESULT Conservatives take Worplesdon

Tories retake Worplesdon from R4GV. Things looking very pessimistic for R4GV.

Losing R4GV candidate Bob McShee said: “We lost because of adverse publicity directed against us by certain individuals. I can now goback and leave the life of politics behind me.”

Next result expected to be Westborough.

So far six seats for the Lib Dems and three for the Conservatives.

1.35 RESULT: Two Lib Dems Hold in Westborough but Labour take third seat.

Howard Smith

Good result for Labour in Westborough. Perhaps they will regret not standing three candidates. Howard Smith said: “I am overwhelmed. I nam grateful to the voters in Westborough for voting for me. I hope to be a really good ward and borough councillor.”

Keith Witham commenting on the Worplesdon result said: “Excellent results all round. Good sense on the part of voters in Worplesdon.”

1.39 RESULT Lib Dems take Shalford from GGG and R4GV

Two more seats for the Lib Dems at Shalford.

Losing GGG candidate said: “Disappointed after all the hard work we have put in. We were up against a national Lib Dem campaign force.”

1.48 Running seat total is Lib Dems 8, Conservatives 3 and Labour 1.

1.56 RESULT Conservatives take Pilgrims

Matt Furniss has returned to GBC accompanied by the chairman of Guidford Conservative Association chair Sallie Barker. The ward has expanded to incorporate Tongham and now has two seats.

Running seat total: Lib Dems 8, Conservatives 5, Labour 1. Total seats at GBC 48. Minimum for majority 24.

2.34 RESULT Lib Dems win in the new Stoke ward

2.35 Running seat total is Lib Dems 13, Conservatives 5 and Labour 1.

Lib Dems advance towards the necessary 24 seats to win overall control of the council appears inexorable. With 29 seats still to be declared they already have 13.

2.50 RESULT Tillingbourne I Lib Dem Hold and One Tory Win

3pm Running seat total is Lib Dems 14, Conservatives 6 and Labour 1.

One Conservative thinks they could end up with 8 to 10 seats. Seema a bit pessimistic.

3.21 RESULT Conservatives Hold Normandy & Pirbright

Sam Peters the Green Party candidate who just lost out in Stoke ward said: “Gutted to not be elected. Huge thanks to everyone who have shown that Greens can win here.”

David Bilbe, one of the Conservative winners at Normandy and Pirbright, said: “Absolutely delighted and my role is to represent everyone not just those that voted for me. I am an open person and my door is always open.”

3.30 Running seat total is Lib Dems 14, Conservatives 8 and Labour 1.

Keith Witham added: “It’s not what you do in for weeks that counts it’s what you do over four years that counts.

3.54 Castle ward looks close.

4pm RESULT Labour win Both Seats in Bellfields and Slyfield

4.05 Running seat total is Lib Dems 14, Conservatives 8 and Labour 3.

The Bellfields and Slyfield ward is largely the Old Stoke ward so this could be described as a Labour hold rather than a win. By now having three seats they have already increased their GBC presence by 50%.

Lib Dems looking good in Burpham (two seats) and Onslow (three seats), we have been told.

16.45 RESULT Lib Dems Hold Burpham

The Lib DEms easily held on to Burpham, previously a Conservative ward denying a re-entry to forme Conservative borough councillor Christian Holliday.

This takes the Lib Dems to 16 seats.

4.50 Running seat total is Lib Dems 16, Conservatives 8 and Labour 3.

Next up Onslow. 14 candidates vying for three seats.

5.03 RESULT Lib Dems Hold All Three Seats in Onslow

5.50 Running seat total is Lib Dems 19, Conservatives 8 and Labour 3.

Lib Dems easily held on to all three Onslow ward seats taking their total to 19 just six short of the 25 target to have an overall majority. It is likely that there majority will be significantly larger.

Next Ash Wharf or Merrow.

Things said to be looking bad for the Tories in the Ash wards and split votes (ie where voters have voted for candidates from different parties on the same ballot paper) are thought to be delaying the remaining results.

5.56 RESULT Lib Dems Gain two seats at Ash Wharf

6pm Running seat total is Lib Dems 21, Conservatives 8 and Labour 3.

6.10pm RESULT Lib Dems gain Ash Vale

6pm Running seat total is Lib Dems 23, Conservatives 8 and Labour 3

RESULT 6.35pm Lib Dems win two in Merrow to secure overall control of GBC and R4GV party leader Joss Bigmore wins his party’s first seat at this election.

6.43 Running seat total is Lib Dems 25, Conservatives 8, Labour 3, R4GV 1.

Recounts called in Castle and Ash South

6.53 RESULT Guildford Greenbelt Group (GGG) get a clean sweep at Send & Lovelace winning all three seats.

Pat Oven, winning GGG candidate said: “It demonstrates the sense of injustice in Send & Lovelace about the continuing affect of the Local Plan which needs to be properly reviewed.

7pm Running seat total is Lib Dems 25, Conservatives 8, GGG 3, Labour 3, R4GV 1.

7.08 RESULT R4GV have clean sweep in Clandon & Horsley

7.20 pm Running seat total is Lib Dems 25, Conservatives 8, R4GV 4, GGG 3, Labour 3.

Catherine Young who recently switched allegiance to R4GV from GGG romped home with her two party colleagues to score a hat-trick at Clandon & Horsley.

She said: “I am absolutely delighted. I am really glad that the eresidents of Clandon& Horsley have put their faith in us and we will work hard but I am really sadened and disappointed with the results some of my colleagues have suffered.”

7.40pm RESULT R4GV gain one and hold one in Ash South.

David Shaw squeaked home by a single vote to win for R4GV and continue their late surge. His party and well-known local compaigner Sue Wyeth-Price had a more comfortable win. Unsurprisingly, there was a recount.

RESULT Conservatives regain two at Castle ward, R4GV retain one.

8.15pm FINAL Result Lib Dem gain control of GBC with a majority of two seats. Lib Dems 25, Conservatives 10, R4GV 7, GGG 3, Lab 3.



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Responses to Guildford Borough Election Results – Lib Dems Take Control With a Majority of Two

  1. Simon J Foster Reply

    May 5, 2023 at 5:30 pm

    It is nice to have a rolling view of the election results, thank you Dragon News for the data.

    Thank you. Ed

  2. Jan Messinger Reply

    May 5, 2023 at 7:15 pm

    May I say well done to Martin Giles and Hugh Coakley for reporting so quickly the results today. It’s been a long day [Jan Messinger was present too] and they have worked hard to give the residents of Guildford Borough the results literally as they were announced.

    Thank you. Ed

  3. Jim Allen Reply

    May 5, 2023 at 9:06 pm

    What about the Horsley effect did it cause the collapse of R4GV?

  4. David Roberts Reply

    May 5, 2023 at 9:27 pm

    Given the politics nationally and in the “Blue Wall” particularly, an outright Lib Dem win was always the likeliest outcome in these elections. They won more by being the default party for protest voters in the South-East generally, rather than by any identifiable local policies. A victory for opportunism and bland indeterminacy.

    An absolute Lib Dem majority of two, however, is not as secure as it looks, since Lib Dem councillors are not whipped. We are going to see many defections on specific votes.

    The R4GV collapse was limited compared with their extraordinary success out of nowhere in 2019 and might perhaps have been expected. Some blame the Robin Horsley effect, and he will no doubt take the credit. But in my view his nasty one-man video campaign, ostensibly about North Street, probably pushed as many votes towards R4GV as it repelled. There’s no way of telling.

    The other parties more or less stood still: Tories up two, Labour up one, GGG down one. Most voters will not be sad to see the back of Tory leader Paul Spooner, who I suspect did not expect to win anyway. But his departure is counter-balanced by the unwelcome return to GBC of his erstwhile deputy and fellow champion of the Local Plan, Matt Furniss. The Tories cannot advance without new faces.

    More important is the extent to which the east of the borough bucked the overall trend. R4GV was saved from oblivion by Catherine Young’s decision to quit GGG for R4GV. This should be a wake-up call for Joss Bigmore, who has neglected the villages over the last four years and must now re-balance his party’s priorities.

    Six out of ten voters in Send & Lovelace and Clandon & Horsley voted for local parties (R4GV and GGG), who swept the board gaining all six seats there. The new council executive will ignore this local disaffection at their peril.

  5. Keith Francis Reply

    May 6, 2023 at 7:15 am

    Thank you Martin Giles and Hugh Doherty for such complete coverage of the Guildford Borough Council election results.

    I suspect there will be some recrimination due to changes in the boundaries and the amalgamation of wards which, to a layman like me, have given rise to some unexpected results.

  6. Susan Fox Reply

    May 8, 2023 at 3:20 pm

    Thank you so much for your coverage. I have been sharing it with neighbours.

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