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Former Swale council leader Andrew Bowles loses seat to Green Party


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There will be a new leader for Swale council for the first time in more than 15 years after Conservative Andrew Bowles lost his seat in one of the biggest shocks of the local elections.

The Green Party's Tim Valentine and Alastair Gould took the two places available for Boughton and Courtenay, polling 825 and 915 votes. Mr Bowles could manage only 621.

Mr Bowles had represented the seat since 1987.

Andrew Bowles was one of the leading figures in the regeneration of Sittingbourne
Andrew Bowles was one of the leading figures in the regeneration of Sittingbourne

He said: "I am disappointed for the residents of my ward because I am not sure the two candidates that will replace us will be happy to give up the 65 to 70 hours a week to do the job.

"I hope they do but that's up to them.

"I am relieved in one respect. There's nothing worse than being in opposition and having no power when you can see your hardwork being undone.

Andrew Bowles says the main issue being raised by residents was failure to deliver on Brexit
Andrew Bowles says the main issue being raised by residents was failure to deliver on Brexit

"I have knocked on more doors and spoken to more residents in this election than ever before.

"The one issue has been failure to deliver on Brexit."

Former Swale council leader Andrew Bowles (Con)
Former Swale council leader Andrew Bowles (Con)

Mr Bowles is the third council leader to lose his seat in today's election results.

Canterbury City Council leader Simon Cook lost to Lib Dem Mike Sole, while Tunbridge Wells leader David Jukes lost out to Lucy Willis of the Tunbridge Wells Alliance.

Just weeks before the election, Mr Bowles, who remains a county councillor, was suspended from the Conservative Party over a tweet in support of right-wing activist Tommy Robinson.

He was reinstated and told a meeting of Swale's Full Council that his personal rating had never been higher.

For live updates on the local elections results in Kent, click here.

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