Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Lib Dem Gerald Vernon-Jackson wins Portsmouth council leadership

Gerald Vernon-Jackson
Image caption Gerald Vernon-Jackson was previously leader of Portsmouth City Council between 2004 and 2014

The Liberal Democrats have assumed the leadership of Portsmouth City Council following the local elections.

Portsmouth City Council remained under no overall control after the vote on 3 May, with the Conservatives as the largest party.

Labour made gains as the UKIP vote collapsed.

Lib Dem Gerald Vernon-Jackson was elected leader of the authority, with the support of Labour members, at a full meeting of the new council.

UKIP lost six seats, Labour gained four seats and the Conservatives and Lib Dems gained one apiece at the elections.

With the support of the five Labour members, the Lib Dems won the leadership vote by 21 votes to 20.

Gerald Vernon-Jackson was previously leader of Portsmouth City Council between 2004 and 2014, when the party lost control.

The Conservatives, led by Donna Jones, had since run the authority as a minority administration.

Image copyright Portsmouth City Council
Image caption Labour party councillors backed Gerald Vernon-Jackson

"I will work as hard as I can to make sure the city of Portsmouth always comes first," Mr Vernon-Jackson said.

"We need to be building more council houses and affordable homes for local people... I want to make sure we make the city a better place in terms of transport," he told the meeting.

He added that for family reasons, his leadership would be a "transition to next generation" and he would not stay in the role for a long time.

The outgoing leader, Conservative Donna Jones, said it had been "a privilege" to lead the council.

"Our administration did bring about a change of culture in 2014... the Conservative cabinet has set some really firm foundations that I truly believe will help the Liberal Democrat and subsequent administrations."

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