Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Vote 2012: Conservatives lose Southampton to Labour

The Conservatives have lost control of Southampton council to the Labour Party.

Labour gained 11 seats leaving them with 30 of the authority's 48 seats, the Tories lost 10 councillors.

It comes after the council was at the centre of industrial action over a staff pay cut imposed by the Tories who said it saved hundreds of jobs.

Tory, Royston Smith, outgoing leader of the council, said "hopefully this is just a blip".

"It's a natural thing that happens in politics, the pendulum does swing," he said.

"You have good times, you have slightly less good times and then times aren't so great, that's what happens.

"Hopefully this is just a blip on that journey."

John Denham, Labour MP for Southampton Itchen, said: "It was going to be an important test for us to show that we could regain trust and regain confidence.

"Voters throughout the city were saying things like, this new government said things were going to change... but things are getting worse.

"These people are out of touch, they are arrogant, they are giving tax cuts to millionaires."

Tory councillor Jeremy Moulton said: "It's been a tough night for us, locally we've lost a number of seats.

"Labour has made gains here but we've kept some of out seats here too.

"There is a natural swing to politics."

Lib Dem councillor Adrian Vinson said the industrial dispute had impacted on voting.

He added: "I think people were very concerned by the disruption. It's one among a number of factors.

"On the whole it does look like [the Lib Dems are being squeezed]. It's not been our best evening."

The council has been at the centre of strikes last year after staff were forced to accept a pay cut.

The authority said the move meant hundreds of jobs could be saved.

ยท All the latest election results are available at bbc.co.uk/vote2012

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