WINCHESTER Labour has elected a new chairman to replace Richard James.

Peter Rees, a former Winchester city councillor and former chairman takes over once again with the party enjoying a post-election boost.

The local party membership is a record 1,132.

Mr Rees said: "We owe an enormous debt of gratitude to Richard who has done a brilliant job for the party which has had to cope in such a short time, with leadership elections, the referendum, city and county elections as well as the general election which came completely out of the blue.

"I am pleased that as the party membership is growing in age, ability and enthusiasm I can add my years of experience to ensure we have a maximum participation in the 2018 city council elections and hopefully another general election very soon.

"It is encouraging for the older members that so many young people are joining. It is crucial to have a more representative local council, the two party stranglehold is bad for democracy."

At a well-attended party meeting last Thursday, the general feeling was that residents locally are becoming increasingly disillusioned at the system which sees council control in Winchester ping-pong between Tories and Lib-Dems and has failed to deliver the long promised Silver Hill regeneration or enough affordable housing.

Labour which once had six city councillors was reduced to none after recent boundary changes abolished the ward which was represented by Labour councillors.

Mr James has moved away from the district