Kent

Labour gains control of Gravesham from Conservatives

Ed Miliband has visited Kent to congratulate the leader of the Labour group on Gravesham council after they gained control from the Conservatives.

The party won eight seats on the borough council, taking its number of councillors from 17 to 25. The number of Tory seats was cut from 27 to 19.

The Labour Party leader went on a walkabout in Gravesend with the new leader of the council, John Burden.

Mr Miliband had also visited the borough on Wednesday.

'Sign of progress'

During his visit on Friday, he said: "North, south, east and west, Labour is making gains and coming back.

"I say this to David Cameron and Nick Clegg this morning: you must listen to the people."

He added: "I am determined that we will be the people's voice in every part of Britain.

"Our victory here is both a sign of our progress and a symbol of our task ahead."

In Thanet, the Conservatives lost overall control of the council they had held since 2003 after they lost six councillors, leaving them with 27.

Elsewhere in Kent, the Tories did well, increasing their grip on Shepway after winning six seats held by the Liberal Democrats, taking their total to 44.

The Tories have held Dartford, increasing their number of councillors from 26 to 31, while Labour was reduced from 12 seats to nine.

They retained control in Canterbury where the Tories gained seven more seats, increasing their total to 36. Labour gained one, while the Lib Dems lost six seats.

In Sevenoaks, the Conservative Party kept control of the district council and took an extra five seats from the Lib Dems and one from the British National Party.

In Swale, Labour gained three seats, the Tories lost one and the Lib Dems lost two, but the Conservatives still retained control of the authority with a majority of 32.

The Conservatives also retained control in Maidstone, gaining two seats while the Lib Dems lost two and in Tunbridge Wells, despite losing two seats, Labour and UKIP each gained one.

The Tories also held Tonbridge and Malling, where the Lib Dems lost three seats.

Ashford also remained under Conservative control.

In Dover, where the Lib Dems lost two seats, the Conservatives retained control. Labour gained four seats.

In Medway, the Conservatives retained their hold on the unitary authority and won two new seats, increasing their number to 35.

Labour won five new seats, taking the party's total to 15 and the Liberal Democrats lost four seats.

Rehan Chishti, the Conservative MP for Gillingham and Rainham, said: "I think it's a fantastic night for the Conservative Party and also an endorsement by the people in Medway on the excellent-run Conservative council here, saying it provides value for money."

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