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EDITIONS
Friday, 3 May, 2002, 07:17 GMT 08:17 UK
Lib Dems gain over Labour
Liberal Democrates celebrating taking control of the council in Norwich
The Lib Dems took six seats to take control in Norwich
The Liberal Democrats were the big winners in the Midlands picking up control of two councils including Norwich which had been held by Labour for almost 70 years.

In Kidderminster the Health Concern party, protesting at the closure of their hospital's A&E department, scored a major success taking control of the council from no overall control.

Labour lost control of Stoke-on-Trent, Redditch and Newcastle-under-Lyme, after being in power in all three for more than 20 years, but maintained control in strongholds like Birmingham and Wolverhampton.

The Conservatives gained Shrewsbury and Atcham after a period of no overall control and maintained their strong grip on power in Solihull and Stratford-upon-Avon.

'Gradual process'

In Norwich the Lib Dems gained six seats to take overall control, with 26 seats in total.

Simon Hughes, of the Lib Dems and the party's home affairs spokesman, said the success had been the result of years of modest gains.

"It has been a gradual process. I have watched my colleagues gain ground in Norwich, as a city, I have watched my colleagues gaining ground in Norfolk as a party and we won our first seat in Norfolk for decades at the last election, so it's all cumulative."

Health Concern supporters celebrate taking control of the council in Kidderminster
Cheers for hospital protesters in Kidderminster
The Lib Dems also took control of Milton Keynes from no overall control.

In Kidderminster the group campaigning for the return of A&E facilities to the town's hospital gained control of the council winning six seats to take their total to 26 with Labour losing half of its ten seats.

Dr Richard Taylor, the leader of Kidderminster Health Concern, took the Parliamentary seat from Labour last June.

"I'm absolutely delighted because I thought it was going to be a low poll, I thought people were really not going to bother," said Dr Taylor.

"But out of eight candidates, to get seven of them is brilliant."

The postal voting experiment in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, was a success with 52.9% of the electorate taking up their democratic right, compared with a figure of 29% for the town in 2000.

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Local Election results


After 174 of 174 councils

Councils
Party Total Net
Lab 63 -8
Con 42 9
LibDem 15 2
Ind 0 0
Oth 2 2
NOC 52 -5
Councillors
Party Total Net
Lab 2402 -339
Con 2005 237
LibDem 1263 45
Ind 136 -79
Oth 101 2
Local Election results
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