Image: Twitter/X / John Challenger

Warwick student wins election to Coventry City Council, as Labour sweeps elections

A Warwick student has won election to Coventry City Council, following local elections across the country which saw significant losses for the Conservative Party.

Grace Lewis, 20, a third-year student in Politics and International Studies, won a council seat for Westwood ward, defeating Conservative incumbent Asha Masih in the process.

Ms Lewis, who stood on behalf of the Labour Party, won 1,936 votes on an 11-point swing, 521 votes ahead of Councillor Masih, who took 1,415.

Jess Marshall, candidate for the Green Party, came a distant third with 342 votes, and Jamie Simpson of the Liberal Democrats finished fourth.

Two other candidates, Nate Lewis of the Coventry Citizens Party, and Jim Donnelly of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, also ran.

I hope my victory will inspire and encourage more of our generation […] to put themselves forward and run for similar positions on councils

Councillor Grace Lewis

Speaking to The Boar after her victory, the new Councillor Lewis hailed the significance of her win as the youngest member of the new City Council.

She said: “Young people like myself are fundamentally underrepresented in politics. I hope my victory will inspire and encourage more of our generation to not only get involved in political campaigning and activism, but to put themselves forward and run for similar positions on councils.”

Echoing a line offered by other victorious Labour candidates on the day, she insisted that the time had come for Conservative PM Rishi Sunak to call an election.

“Winning in Westwood for only the second time in nine years is absolutely huge for Coventry Labour Party, and shows the Tories that their time has run out and we need a general election now,” she said. She encouraged any politically-interested young people to start campaigning for the general election – expected later this year – so as to help elect candidates “who have track records of standing up for young people and students.”

She also extolled the values of doorstep campaigning, declaring that: “Politics should be about people first and foremost, unlike what the current Conservative government has shown these last 14 years.” She extended special thanks to Warwick Labour for “helping to run an effective grassroots campaign”, and to local MP Zarah Sultana for her own support.

Cllr Grace Lewis […] I am delighted for you!

Matt Western, MP for Warwick and Leamington

There were congratulations from local politicians, including Sultana who tweeted: “Congratulations to Grace and to all those re-elected in Coventry South.”

Matt Western, MP for Warwick and Leamington, posted a photo of himself and Lewis, saying: “Cllr Grace Lewis […] I am delighted for you!”

Lewis’s victory in Westwood was one of three gains made by the Labour Party in Coventry this election. While Labour’s increase of the vote in Westwood was the largest of any ward, advances in other areas were enough to get the party’s candidates over the line in the wards of Bablake and Sherbourne.

These gains brought Labour’s presence on Coventry City Council to 39 out of 54 seats, with the party expected to net a fortieth in Radford, where elections were postponed after the death of a candidate.

This would bring Labour’s majority on the council to 26 seats, 14 years after the party first returned to local government in Coventry in 2010.

The Conservatives were pipped into third place, with 515 councillors

Elsewhere in the country, Labour met with similar levels of success, winning a net gain of 186 council seats, and all but one of the 11 Metro Mayors in England.

This included the Mayor of the West Midlands, the race for which saw Conservative incumbent Andy Street lose by a razor-thin margin of 1,508 votes to his Labour opponent, Richard Parker.

Labour’s total performance of 1,158 council seats was more than double that of their nearest rivals, the Liberal Democrats, who won 522. The Conservatives were pipped into third place, with 515 councillors, having lost 474.


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