St Albans local elections 2019: Former Conservative council leader Alec Campbell on losing seat
PUBLISHED: 17:06 07 May 2019 | UPDATED: 17:06 07 May 2019
James Ward Photography
The leader of St Albans council has been ousted from his position after losing his seat at this year’s local elections.
Alec Campbell has served as Conservative leader of St Albans district council since May 2017, but on May 2 his ward was pulled from beneath him by a Liberal Democrat.
Cllr Will Tucker won the St Peter's ward seat with 1,365 votes - that is 860 votes ahead of Alec.
This comes amid a drastic reshuffling which sees the Liberal Democrats elected to the most seats but without winning overall control.
Alec said: "I am very disappointed as you would expect, after eight years as a councillor, and we have delivered a lot.
"The councillors that have been elected will work out what they want to do and the Lib Dems have the largest group of local councillors now so they will be looking at forming an administration because it is quite difficult to operate with a minority."
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The former-Huawei employee believes the result is a reflection on national politics, with Brexit negotiations led by Tory Prime Minister Theresa May proving most controversial.
He said: "A message we had been getting on the doorstep from Conservative voters is they are unhappy with the situation in central government."
"The Conservative voters were pretty divided, some of them want to Remain, some want a soft Brexit, and some want a hard Brexit.
"Turnout was only marginally lower than last year so that suggests to me that some Conservative voters changed their vote."
He said he is proud of what SADC has achieved under his leadership - including reaching a more than 60 per cent recycling rate and submitting the Local Plan to the secretary of state.
Alec suggested former St Albans Conservative leader and commercial and development portfolio holder Cllr Julian Daly, housing and inclusion portfolio holder Cllr Brian Ellis, or planning portfolio holder Cllr Mary Maynard may all be likely candidates to take over the leadership mantle.
Adding: "I would encourage them to do so."
Also remaining enigmatic, Alec said he would "be quite keen" to run in the next election, but he "would have to wait and see when it is happening".