Local elections 2018 Preview: Richmond Borough Council

After earning a big majority at the 2014 election, the Conservatives will be hoping to further consolidate their position on May 3.

With council leader Paul Hodgins in the post for under a year, this will be his first serious test as a senior party leader.

The pressure is piling on the new leader to keep control of the council.


In May 2014, the Conservatives kept control of Richmond Council, earning 44.95% of the vote and 39 seats, with the Liberal Democrats winning 31.78% of the vote and the remaining 15 seats.

This marked a net gain of 10 seats for the Conservatives and a net loss of nine seats for the Liberal Democrats, but no other party won any seats, although Labour won 12.5% of the vote, the Greens won 5.99% and UKIP won 3.88%.

Turnout was 46.13%, above the national average of 35.7%.

Barnes councillor Paul Hodgins leads the council, while Hampton councillor Gareth Roberts of the Liberal Democrats is the Leader of the Opposition.

During the four-year term, there have been some minor changes, and  the Conservatives now have 37 Councillors, the Liberal Democrats have 14 and Labour have two.

Husband and wife duo, Jennifer Churchill and Stephen Knight, both Teddington councillors, defected from the Liberal Democrats to Labour. Ms Churchill, who switched two years ago, will be running as a Labour candidate in the upcoming election, with Cllr Knight backing her, although not running himself.

Tania Matthias, who was elected as a Conservative Councillor in 2014, was then elected as the Twickenham MP in 2015 (preceded and succeeded by Vince Cable). The resultant by-election resulted in Liberal Democrat Geraldine Locke being elected. In March this year, Conservative councillor Annie Hambidge resigned after a complaint from a resident of “culturally insensitive” language.

Map of Richmond following the 2014 local elections


As with every election in Richmond, this is a straight fight between the Lib Dems and the Conservatives.

The progressive alliance is alive and well in Richmond Borough as the Greens and Liberal Democrats will be running a joint campaign in six wards.

There will be two Liberal Democrat candidates and one Green candidate in the wards of Barnes, Fulwell & Hampton Hill, Petersham & Richmond Riverside, Hampton Wick, South Richmond and South Twickenham.

The two local parties explain that they have made this decision because the first past the post voting system is deeply flawed, as it creates a council dominated by just two parties, and that they aim to diversify opinion on the council to better reflect the diverse opinions of residents.


Brexit is a pretty common theme in all wards. Richmond voted overwhelmingly to remain and the Conservative councillors have been loyal to the national party’s line on leaving the European Union.


Leader of the opposition, Liberal Democrat Counsellor Gareth Roberts said: “We are incredibly optimistic about our chances in this election. People want change; they tell me that they’re tired of the Conservatives taking them for granted and pushing through unpopular policy after unpopular policy simply by mobilising their majority in the chamber.

“It’s either us or the Tories here. If residents want to see a council committed to delivering a greener, fairer, safer borough they need to vote Lib Dem on May 3.”

Richmond Conservative Party did not respond to requests for comment.

South West Londoner will be providing live updates and all the latest news and reactions from all 11 counts across the area on May 3. Visit our website or Twitter for live coverage throughout the night.

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