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Election update: Labour gains in Weymouth and Portland
THE youngster ever councillor elected in Weymouth and Portland hopes his victory will encourage other youngsters to be involved in politics.
Ryan Hope, 20, is among the new faces joining Weymouth and Portland Borough Council following an election night of change.
The night belonged to Labour which made four gains but there is still no party in overall control of the council.
Mr Hope won Westham North by a majority of 204 for the Liberal Democrats.
The seat was previously held by borough mayor Graham Winter for the Lib Dems who decided to stand as an Independent in Radipole ward – where he lost out to council Lib Dem leader Ian Roebuck.
Because the position of mayor is a non-political role Mr Winter will still serve as the mayor until May 24 even though he is no longer a councillor.
Mr Hope, who is Community Group chairman for Westham and an Olympic torchbearer, said he hoped to encourage more young people.
He said: “It shows the town wants changes and young blood and I’m hoping not to disappoint them.”
He added: “I’m hoping this will show that young people do have a voice and they are not afraid to use it.
“I’m really looking forward to getting stuck in.”
Polling stations across the borough closed at 10pm on Thursday and by midnight the results of the borough elections came thick and fast.
Overall turnout was low with only 32 per cent of voters going to the polls.
A total of 12 seats were up for grabs out of the 36 council positions. Before the elections the borough council was not controlled by one main party with the Conservatives holding 16 seats, Labour holding seven, Lib Dems had nine and there were four Independent councillors.
On the night, the Conservatives lost two seats and the Independents and the Lib Dems each lost a seat. Labour gained four seats.
The former Conservative seat in Tophill West was taken for Labour by Ray Nowak. Mr Nowak said: “I feel passionate about the island and especially Tophill and that’s why I wanted to stand as a candidate.”
He added: “Now I want to give it my all for Portland.”
In Preston, Conservative candidate and former South Dorset MP Ian Bruce won a seat from the Lib Dems. He and wife Hazel Bruce will now both be representing Preston.
He said: “I’m looking forward to taking a full part in civic life and helping to get things done.”
Lib Dem candidate John Birtwistle retained his Weymouth East seat.
He said: “I’m pleased – pleased to be back.
“I’ll try to carry on and speak my mind and not take any rubbish.”
The make-up of the new council will be 14 Conservatives, eight Lib Dems, 11 Labour and three Independents, leaving the borough council once again with no overall ruling party.
See all the results here