It is a well-known fact that local elections tend to go against the political party that is in government. Here in Crawley, this happened to us Conservatives during John Major’s government of 1990 - 1997, when we were reduced to just two Crawley Borough Councillors.
Ten years later in 2006 after nine years of Tony Blair’s Labour government, we Conservatives won control of Crawley Borough Council and our group continued to grow up 26 Borough Councillors in the following years. Once we entered government in 2010, we fell back and Labour won control of Crawley Borough Council in 2014 with a majority of five councillors.
This wasn’t unexpected, but something happened in 2015 that abruptly stopped this trend of sitting governments being punished in Crawley’s local council elections. What happened is that the far-left took over Labour and elected Jeremy Corbyn as their leader. I don’t need to say here what is wrong with Mr Corbyn and his party as after four years of running Labour, everybody already knows. Four years later and despite being in government, we have reduced Labour’s majority of five on Crawley council down to just two.
With Labour completely taken by the far-left including here in Crawley, they’ve become unelectable. Locally, I have personally met many former Labour voters looking for a new moderate home. In Crawley, we Conservatives are a broad church made up of people from all backgrounds. We listen to people and seek to represent everyone fairly, providing a modern and forward-thinking alternative. Our motivation is to get the very best for Crawley, not to impose extreme and divisive politics from above like we see from Labour.
Our local Conservative party now has its highest ever membership and last week there were two council by-elections, one in Tilgate and the other in Three Bridges & the western half of Pound Hill South. In winning them both, we saw huge swings to us from Labour, with Labour’s vote falling off a cliff. This strongly suggests that Crawley wants fresh leadership at our local Council and my colleagues and I will continue to offer it.
Councillor Duncan Crow, Leader of Crawley Borough Council Conservative Group
2nd October 2019