THE leader of the Liberal Democrat party in Basingstoke has voiced his concerns about a lack of ‘community champions’ as the Conservatives romped to a comfortable majority.

Gavin James spoke to the Gazette after his party was re-elected across the board in Eastrop and Grove.

“It’s good news for me and it’s good news for them. We work hard and put them first,” he said.

Cllr James, elected along with Cllrs Ron Hussey and John McKay, says the team’s “main priority is looking after residents” and “recovering the economy in a green and positive way”.

However, after a “really short campaign” with limited canvassing possible, he is worried about the overall results.

He said: “I am worried that we are going to get a lot of Conservatives who are elected as Conservatives instead of community champions.

“It was a really short campaign and that is showing in the results that we are seeing.”

Cllr James said that, over the past year, Boris Johnson’s 5pm Coronavirus broadcast briefings have verged on “party advertisement” which has given the Conservatives a “political boost”.

However, speaking about the three-seat hold in Eastrop for the party, Gavin added: “We have been doing this year in year out so we have been able to get away from the fact that we couldn’t do as much this time. It would be different if we were brand new councillors.”

The Liberal Democrats also won two seats in Brighton Hill, bringing their total to five.