The Liberal Democrats celebrated a historic return to Southampton City Council by taking a Bassett seat off the Conservatives in the May 2022 elections.
Local activist Richard Blackman won the seat with 52% of the votes – a majority of 702. He said, “I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to the electors of Bassett for entrusting me with the responsibility of representing you in the Civic Centre. I am both humbled and delighted by the support you have given me.”
The results in Bassett, May 2022 City Council Elections
Richard added, “Having talked to many residents over the past year, I am very much aware of a desire for change in how you are represented. As I take up my responsibilities I aim to be responsive, approachable and accessible to all residents. I won't take you for granted.
“I’m really looking forward to serving the people of Bassett, and also hope to make a positive contribution to civic life as the first Liberal Democrat to be elected to Southampton City Council in more than a decade.”
The last time the Liberal Democrats held a seat in Southampton was 2010-2014, and the result represents their biggest majority since 2006. Combined with the Conservatives' poor results across the City, control of the Council now flips back to Labour after only a year of the Conservative administration.
Since the Bassett seat was last contested in 2018, vote share has swung 26.7 percentage points from Conservatives to Lib Dem. A similar swing replicated across Romsey and Southampton North (2019 majority 21.2%) would see the Parliamentary seat switch to the Liberal Democrats.
Southampton-based lecturer and leading PSHE author Simon Foster stated “This is certainly very good news for the Liberal Democrats. It shows in the Parliamentary seat of Romsey and Southampton North that the Liberal Democrats are the main challengers to the Conservatives, with Labour in a distant third place and out of the running. Caroline Nokes should be concerned – her seat will be increasingly at risk to the Lib Dems if this trend continues.”
The result in Bassett was one of 224 seats gained by the Liberal Democrats across England, Scotland and Wales on Thursday 5 May. The Lib Dems took control of three more councils, including Gosport locally, and the newly created Somerset unitary authority.
Southern success for Lib Dems in Somerset