Conservative Party wins control of Woking council

The Conservatives have gained control of Woking by winning an extra two seats on the council.

The Tories now have 20 seats on the authority, which was previously under no overall control, while the Lib Dems have 16.

The Conservatives have retained control of eight other councils in Surrey, all with large majorities.

The Residents Association kept power in Epsom and Ewell while Mole Valley remains under no overall control.

In Waverley, the Conservatives gained six seats and now have 56 councillors out of 57. The Lib Dems and independents each lost three councillors.

'Better than predicted'

In Guildford, the Tories gained seven councillors to be left with 34 of the council's 48 members. The Lib Dems fell from having 21 to 12 and Labour gained two seats.

There was no change in Runnymede, where the Conservatives have 36 seats and there are six independents.

In Tandridge, the Conservatives gained a seat and now have 34 councillors while the Lib Dems lost one and now have six.

The party also held on to power in Elmbridge, gaining two seats while the Lib Dems lost two.

The Conservative Party kept control of Reigate and Banstead, but lost a seat. They now have 38 of the 45 councillors in the borough.

In Surrey Heath, the Tories retained control and increased their majority from 29 to 36 seats. The Conservative Party took all seven seats from the Lib Dems.

The Conservatives also retained control in Spelthorne, gaining an extra seat and bringing their total number of councillors to 32.

In Mole Valley the authority stayed under no overall control with the Liberal Democrats and Conservative councillors all retaining their seats.

Residents Association councillors strengthened their hold on Epsom and Ewell Borough Council gaining four seats, bringing their total to 26.

Philip Hammond, the MP for Runnymede and Weybridge and Conservative transport minister, said his party had done better than most people had predicted.

"We are a government in office taking some very difficult decisions, campaigning off a historic high-water mark in terms of councillors and councils controlled," he said.

"I think we were braced for some significant losses which don't seem to be materialising."

Dr Simon Usherwood, senior lecturer in politics at the University of Surrey, said voters who wanted to punish the government had focused largely on the Lib Dems.

He said the Tory gains in Waverley were an accurate reflection of what voters in the borough wanted.

But he said Conservative councillors up for election in 2015 at the time of the next general election might have a harder time.

"They will be tied much more closely to the national performance so you might well see the potential for other parties to recoup these losses," he added.

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