Ousted council leader Serge Lourie has declared he is unlikely to stand as a councillor again.

Mr Lourie lost his Richmond Council seat after 28 years, and the Liberal Democrats lost control of the authority, as voters failed to back the party both locally and nationally.

The former Kew councillor pointed to the popularity of Zac Goldsmith and the rise in the Labour vote as the reasons the Conservative group regained control.

Mr Lourie led the Lib Dems for nine years, from 2001, and had been leader of the council on two occasions.

He polled 2,709 votes in last Thursday’s council elections, more than he had ever done before, but that left him in fourth place – with three seats up for grabs – behind new councillors Meena Bond, Jean-Francois Burford and David Linnette.

Mr Lourie only lost his seat by six votes, but was philosophical and said he was “delighted” for Councillor Burford.

He said: “I’m really disappointed to have lost after 28 years – but that’s politics.

“We all put ourselves forward and we lose some as well as winning some.”

Mr Lourie, 64, said it was not the last that would be seen of him, but he could not imagine running for office again.

He added: “It’s very unlikely I will stand again. But I will continue my work with the local and national party.”

Speaking about the election result overall, he said: “In Richmond wards, we lost eight seats, we were certainly hit by the Zac millions.

“It was a really bad result for the Liberal Democrats, both for the MP [Susan Kramer – who lost her Richmond Park parliamentary seat to Mr Goldsmith] and councillors.

“We lost eight seats out of 12 [on the Richmond side of the river] and did really badly in Ham, which has been a safe seat.

“There was something strange going on in Richmond wards – I got 600 more votes than ever before, yet I lost.

“A lot of people who wouldn’t normally vote in local elections voted.

“The Labour vote recovery across the borough had a significant effect. That, and the Zac effect, meant we did significantly less well.

“There was a Vince Cable effect in Twickenham – we took two seats in Hampton North – yet we still lost seats [on the Middlesex side]. It was a very unusual election.”

He said the future of the party was in safe hands, with Councillor Stephen Knight, deputy council leader, looking likely to take the leadership.

He added: “The Tories have an impossible job over the next four years.

“They have made some difficult promises. I think they will have their work cut out.

“We are in good shape on the council – a mix of experience and new members.

“As an opposition, they will be very effective.”

Political journey

Elected to Richmond Council for first time as councillor for Kew.


The Liberal Alliance, which morphed into the Liberal Democrats, won control of the council for the first time after two byelections.


Elected as leader of the Liberal Democrat group on Richmond Council and takes over as council leader.


After more than 18 years in power the Lib Dems, lead by Coun Lourie, lose control to the Conservatives.


Four years later Coun Lourie leads his party to a crushing victory and regains his position as Richmond Council leader.


The Lib Dems are booted out of office again, Coun Lourie loses his seat and declares he is unlikely to stand again for the council.