Local elections 2013: No overall control for Gloucestershire Tories

UKIP councillor for Drybrook and Lydbrook Colin Guyton
Image caption UKIP's Colin Guyton said winning three seats had 'exceeded all expectations'

The Conservatives have lost overall control of Gloucestershire County Council.

Of the 53 seats up for election, the Tories have won 23 and the Liberal Democrats have won 14.

UKIP, which has not previously had any elected councillors in the county, has won three seats.

Nine seats have been won by Labour, one by the Green Party, one by People Against Bureaucracy and two by independent candidates.

'Coalition of the willing'

It is the first time in eight years the Conservatives have not had overall control of the council. They were four seats short of a working majority of 27.

Conservative councillor Mark Hawthorne, who still leads the largest group on the council, said a "coalition of the willing" would be required to run the authority.

He said: "I think all of the parties are going to have to sit down and digest the results and work out the way forward.

"At some point there is going to be a coalition of the willing, those willing to make the decisions Gloucestershire needs.

"I'm not going to rule any option off the table. What is very clear is UKIP plus Conservative does not equal an administration."

All of the UKIP wins were in Forest of Dean.

'Cross with government'

Mark Harper, the Conservative MP for Forest of Dean, said: "It's always disappointing when we lose very good councillors.

"Obviously we're in government at the moment, we are having to take very difficult decisions to clear up the mess we inherited and I think voters have taken the opportunity to protest."

Peter Bungard, the council's chief executive, said: "Effectively you could say eight groups are negotiating... somehow there needs to be some sort of coalition to run the council."

He added: "I think it will take a few days. My job is to possibly help make sense between manifestos suggesting very different things.

"I think this will need a lot of time. We've got until the council meeting in two weeks' time to sort this."

The new UKIP councillor for Drybrook and Lydbrook, Colin Guyton, said: "We've exceeded all our expectations.

"Yes, there's a protest vote involved, but also people really want our support.

"They are cross with government and that's fed all the way down to local level.

"They're worried about loss of jobs, they're worried about the influence of the European Union and they just feel they want to take control of their own country again."

Turnout for the election was 31.8%, down from 40%.

Boundaries have changed since the last election in 2009 and the total number of seats on the council has decreased from 63 to 53.

A total of 248 candidates were fighting for the 53 seats across Gloucestershire.

Polls opened at 07:00 BST on Thursday and closed at 22:00 BST with votes being counted overnight.

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