SOUTH HOLLAND DISTRICT COUNCIL ELECTIONS 2019: Sir John Hayes MP praises ruling Conservatives for 'really good, positive campaign', despite loss of 'some very good people'
South Holland and the Deepings MP Sir John Hayes has praised the Conservative ruling group for "exceeding all expectations" in this year's elections.
On a night when his party suffered its worst showing in council elections nationally since 1995, with more than 1,300 councillors losing their seats,
the Conservatives "minimised our losses" to retain control of South Holland District Council with a majority of 11 seats.
After the final result was declared in Pinchbeck and Surfleet ward, Sir John acknowledged the achievement of the Conservatives taking 24 of the 37 seats on offer at a "challenging time" for the parliamentary party.
Sir John also underlined the disappointment of losing "some very good people", including Angela Harrison in Crowland and Deeping St Nicholas, Laura Eldridge in Long Sutton and Jan Whitbourn whose switch from Whaplode and Holbeach St Johns ward to Spalding St John's proved unsuccessful.
"It's always challenging to fight a local election in the mid-term of a Parliament when your party is in government," Sir John said.
"There were some exceptional candidates and we fought a really good, positive campaign.
"A well-led council and strong candidates have meant that we have retained control and actually minimised our losses.
"Yes we have lost some very good people which is very disappointing and I know that those people will want me to thank them for all their efforts in what they have done.
"They will be back but, overall, on what was a challenging night for the party, in South Holland once again we've probably exceeded all expectations and done really well.
"I'm proud of our councillors, proud of our council leader Gary Porter and his whole team."
Sir John also looked forward to an influx of new Conservative district councillors, including Nigel Pepper in Crowland and Deeping St Nicholas, Paul Redgate in Whaplode and Holbeach St Johns and Glynis Scalese in Spalding St Paul's.
"We've got some good, new councillors and although we've lost some old, we've got some new friends joining the group too," Sir John said.
"If someone had predicted this on a night like tonight, in challenging times, I don't think they would have assumed that we would have got as many votes as we did tonight or, indeed, have held as many seats.
"A lot of people would have assumed the worst but that's a testament to our councillors, our candidates and to the local party for which I'm immensely grateful."
Coun Redgate, also chairman of South Holland and the Deepings Conservative Association, said: "All the candidates worked really hard and gave their all in a very, very positive campaign.
"They can all be proud of everything they've achieved and, as unfortunately we've lost some very good councillors, I just hope that the electorate realise some of the councillors they've lost and the good work they actually did.
"It's going to be great to, given the chance, actually represent the people of Whaplode and Holbeach St Johns, as well as the people of South Holland.
"I'm really looking forward to it and getting started."