By Cllr Dawn Smith
Political history was made on May 6th 2022, as the Worthing Borough Council election results were declared. We were hoping to hold all the seats we had up for re-election and to gain up to four additional seats. As the results started filtering through, there were huge majorities in the seats we held, victories in wards we once thought were a long way from even being target seats, and a surprise win in Northbrook – the declaration that secured us as the party to take the administration.
Less than five years ago, Labour had no seats at all. Our new leader of Worthing Borough Council, Dr Beccy Cooper, won a by-election in August 2017. She was then joined by five more in 2018, and another five in 2019. December 2021 saw us draw alongside the Tories on 17 seats after a by-election caused by a former Tory Councillor being exposed as a fascist. We also won our first ever West Sussex County Council seats. The political tide in Worthing was becoming a tsunami!
Heading into this year’s eleciion, we were determined to take control away from the tired and complacent Tories. We developed a Worthing-specific, community-led manifesto covering all areas of council services. It was well received on the doorstep and became a focal point of our campaigning. We are all proud of the fully costed socialist policies it presents and work has already started on their implementation.
We are truly honoured to have earned the results we achieved last week. This was a victory for listening to residents, for community organising, for existing Councillors being embedded in their wards, and for the political sea change which so many people in this town have placed their trust in us to deliver. We are here to serve and work with our community. Worthing Borough is now a Council for the many, not the few.
Dawn Smith is Broadwater Borough Councillor for the Broadwater Division of West Sussex County Council
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