Sir Keir Starmer visits key Labour target of Worthing ahead of local elections

ITV Meridian's Andy Dickenson reports from Worthing. He spoke to Sir Keir Starmer, Worthing MP Sir Peter Bottomley and Liberal Democrat Hazel Thorpe.

The rising cost of living is keeping people up at night, Labour leader Keir Starmer has said while on the campaign trail in Worthing.

Sir Keir arrived at the West Sussex seaside town on Monday morning to do some final campaigning ahead of Thursday’s local elections.

After joining passing joggers for a selfie he said : “Everybody is talking about the cost-of-living crisis.

“The thing that has been keeping people up at night is worrying about paying their bills and being whacked with tax by the Government.

“From the Labour Party point of view we think that there should be a windfall tax on oil and gas companies in the North Sea, they have made more profit than they are expecting.

“Use that for energy bills, up to £600 for those who need it most.”

Worthing has long been a Conservative stronghold but in recent years has seen big gains for Labour.

Each party currently holds 17 seats on Worthing Borough Council.

It's currently led by the Conservatives but without a majority after the single seat that gave them power went Independent last year.

The town is seen as a key Labour target, although Conservative MP Sir Peter Bottomley is proud of his party's record locally; "I think a lot of things are important for the voting public", he said.

"In Worthing, it's about the quiet, undramatic provision of local services, and that means trying not to let Labour's supporting unions wreck your bin collection and trying to have a town that you can be proud of.

"Which town was voted best seaside town in the country? Worthing. Who leads Worthing? Conservatives.'

Liberal Democrat spokeswoman Hazel Thorpe said the Conservatives must be held to account for the actions of their members; "Nobody is above the law,"she said.

"Whoever you are, in whatever position you are, you should be honest, open.

"And if you're caught out at doing something which is not acceptable, you have to step down."

Voting takes place on Thursday, 5th May.