Swanage election results spring a few surprises

Following the elections on Thursday 2nd May 2024, the names of the winning candidates were announced for Swanage Town Council, Dorset Council Swanage ward, and the Dorset police and crime commissioner role.

There were two seats up for grabs for the Swanage ward of Dorset Council with Gary Suttle and Bill Trite both Local Conservatives retaining the seats. Labour Party candidate Debby Monkhouse, well known for her campaigning on local health issues, was a close contender but just missed out.

Bill Trite and Gary Suttle
South Dorset Conservatives

Councillors Bill Trite (left) and Gary Suttle (right) congratulate each other after retaining their Swanage seats on Dorset Council

Gary Suttle loses town council seat

Both Gary and Bill have been councillors for more than 30 years, serving on Swanage Town Council, the old Purbeck District Council and more recently on Dorset Council, so it was a surprise that while Gary will continue as a Swanage representative on Dorset Council, he lost his long held seat on Swanage Town Council.

Overall, Swanage Town Council now has six Local Conservative councillors, four Labour councillors and two Independents, of which 50 percent are women.

This compares to the previous council which comprised 10 Local Conservative councillors and two Labour councillors.

Megan Coward, voted in as an Independent, is the youngest ever Swanage Town councillor at the age of 21.

Swanage Town Hall

Swanage Town Hall is an impressive historic building along Swanage’s High Street

Swanage Town Council, Swanage North ward results


  • William Stanley Trite (Bill Trite) – Local Conservatives: 779 votes (retained seat)
  • Christine Hazel Foster (Tina Foster) – Local Conservatives: 728 votes (retained seat)
  • Christopher John Moreton (Chris Moreton) – Local Conservatives: 726 votes (retained seat)
  • Sarah Elizabeth Amy Silverton (Sarah Brookes) – Independent: 725 votes
  • Megan Imogen Coward – Independent: 656 votes
  • John Peter Lejeune – Local Conservatives: 606 votes

Not elected

  • James John Mercer – Labour Party: 588 votes
  • Ian James McDavid – Independent: 581 votes
  • Paul Raymond Chaston – Local Conservatives: 561 votes
  • John Stuart Kaiser – Local Conservatives: 554 votes
  • Woodley Robert Harding (Woody Harding) – Labour Party: 551 votes
  • Matthew John Piper (Matt Piper) – Liberal Democrats: 546 votes

Swanage Town Council, Swanage South ward results


  • Deborah Susan Monkhouse (Debby Monkhouse) – Labour Party: 760 votes (retained seat)
  • Julia Dorrington (Jules Dorrington) – Labour Party: 655 votes
  • Sarah Margaret Vile – Labour Party: 652 votes
  • Clifford Frank Victor Sutton (Cliff Sutton) – Labour Party: 634 votes
  • Michael Peter Bonfield (Mike Bonfield) – Local Conservatives: 627 votes (retained seat)
  • Christopher James Tomes (Chris Tomes) – Local Conservatives: 575 votes (retained seat)

Not elected

  • Gary Maurice Suttle – Local Conservatives: 548 votes
  • Philip Michael Eades – Independent: 511 votes
  • Caroline Freda May Finch – Local Conservatives: 479 votes
  • Christopher John Wood (Chris Wood) – Independent: 451 votes
  • Helen Mary McDavid – Independent: 444 votes
  • Heidi Jane Lucas – Local Conservatives: 426 votes
  • Michael Alan Whitwam (Mike Whitwam) – Local Conservatives: 342 votes
County Hall in Dorchester will tackle the issue of double taxes for second homes

Dorset Council is based in Dorchester

Dorset Council election

The Conservatives lost control of Dorset Council to the Liberal Democrats. While it was anticipated that there would be Lib Dem gains, following the downward popularity slide of the Tories and the campaigning efforts of the Lib Dems, it was quite a moment for the Lib Dems to take ‘true blue’ Dorset.

However, exactly how much change this will bring remains to be seen, as out of the 82 seats up for election, only 28 are new councillors. 54 seats have been retained by members who have previously served as councillors for Dorset Council. The lack of any unallocated spending money (in common with all English councils) is likely to frustrate new initiatives.

Dorset Council party share

  • Liberal Democrats: 42 seats
  • Conservatives: 30 seats
  • Greens: 4 seats
  • Independent for Dorset/Independent other: 4 seats
  • Labour: 2 seats

Dorset Council – Swanage ward results


  • Gary Maurice Suttle – Local Conservatives: 1,262 votes
  • William Stanley Trite (Bill Trite) – Local Conservatives: 1,148 votes

Not elected

  • Deborah Susan Monkhouse (Debby Monkhouse) – Labour Party: 1,084 votes
  • Christopher John Bradey (Chris Bradey) – Labour Party: 789 votes
  • Philip Michael Eades – Independent: 686 votes
  • Helen Mary McDavid – Independent: 460 votes
  • Matthew John Piper (Matt Piper) – Liberal Democrats: 283 votes
  • Kia Robert Pope – Green Party: 215 votes
  • Gillian Mary Calvin Thomas (Gill Calvin Thomas) – Liberal Democrats: 192 votes

Elsewhere in Purbeck, winning Dorset Council candidates were:

  • South East Purbeck ward: Ben Wilson – Liberal Democrat (replacing Local Conservative Cherry Brooks)
  • Wareham ward: Beryl Ezzard – Liberal Democrat (retained seat) and Ryan Holloway – Liberal Democrat (retained seat)
  • West Purbeck ward: Michael Baker – Liberal Democrat (replacing Local Conservative Peter Wharf) and Laura Beddow – Local Conservative (retained seat)
David Sidwick with Chief Constable Amanda Pearson after being re-elected PCC
Dorset PCC

David Sidwick with Dorset chief constable Amanda Pearson after being re-elected as the police and crime commissioner

Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner election

In the police and crime commissioner (PCC) for Dorset elections, Conservative David Sidwick was re-elected for a second term of office.

Dorset PCC results

  • David John Sidwick – Conservative Candidate, More Police, Safer Streets: 57,994
  • Howard Richard Legg – Liberal Democrat: 34,774
  • Marianne Storey – Independent: 32,237
  • David Stokes – Labour and Co-operative Party: 26,884

Dorset Police chief constable Amanda Pearson said:

“I would like to offer my congratulations to David Sidwick in being re-elected as the Police and Crime Commissioner for Dorset.

“We look forward to continuing the progressive and productive relationship we have developed in the last three years and will be ready to assist in the further delivery of the Commissioner’s Police and Crime Plan.”

Further information

  • Dorset Council full results
  • Town and parish councils within the Dorset Council area results
  • Dorset PCC results

Share this story

Contact us

Do you have anything to add to this story?

We like to keep everything up-to-date, so if you know more, please help us by getting in touch.


Top stories

Three weeks of roadworks to begin in Corfe Castle Just in time for the new school term, a three-week lane closure on the A351 at Corfe Castle begins on Monday 15th April 2024. 1 month ago More Purbeck visitors urged to take trip to Brownsea 2 months ago Heritage loco derails during Swanage Railway diesel gala 1 week ago Swanage nightclub transforms into top new venue 2 months ago Open invitation to explore one of Swanage’s best kept secrets 4 weeks ago

Most recent

Swanage’s king of darts makes his debut for England A man from Swanage has become only the third person from Dorset to play darts for England and is now hoping to take his game a step further. 10 hours ago Stoborough residents lucky to escape lightning strike fire 1 day ago TV’s Time Team reveal results of Wytch Farm dig 2 days ago New sanctuary garden officially opened in Swanage 3 days ago Purbeck’s first shuffleboard tournament to raise funds for skatepark 4 days ago